Now that the Republican primary race is all but over (but, you never know), look for daily stories that take former President Trump to task -directly or indirectly. In this case, it is the latter.
This is an unusual presidential election year. I don’t remember a Republican presidential primary, when there is not a Republican incumbent, in my lifetime when it is over, essentially speaking, after the New Hampshire primary. The incumbent in the White House is running for re-election from his basement, as he did in 2020. Biden’s re-election campaign is so disorganized it keeps re-launching itself. The latest re-launch happened this week in Virginia and he brought Kamala along with him. Trump didn’t participate in the Republican primary debates and Team Biden pushed the start of the Democrat primary season to South Carolina.
Democrats have been salivating about running against Donald Trump again. They are convinced that the 81-year-old president suffering from dementia will win against Trump. The media is happy to put its thumb on the scale and cover for Biden while going as ugly as possible against Trump. We saw it in the 2016 cycle, the 2020 cycle, and now it is emerging again. The press coverage against Trump is turning now. We’ve seen this movie before.
Case in point – today there is an article in the Daily Mail about the White House pharmacy. The claim is that during the Trump years, the pharmacy was handing out drugs to White House aides like candy. A report, an 80 page document, has been written looking at records and prescriptions from 2017 to 2019. There were interviews taken with 120 officials. Military providers and pharmacists were included.
White House staffers haphazardly with little to no record keeping or appropriate care and limited oversight during previous presidential administrations, a new report has revealed.
An 80-page-document from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General found the White House Medical Unit had ‘severe and systemic’ breaches of protocol, used taxpayer dollars to buy unnecessary expensive brand-name drugs and provided care and medications to staff who were not eligible to receive such services from the clinic.
The investigation began in 2018 after the DoD received complaints that a senior military medical officer in the clinic had ‘engaged in improper medical practice.’
That sounds bad, right? The report stated, ‘All phases of the White House Medical Unit’s pharmacy operations had severe and systemic problems.’
There was a chaotic system using handwritten records that tracked drugs in the pharmacy. Pharmacy employees distributed prescription and non-prescription drugs freely. However, there were errors in the medication counts, along with illegible text, and crossed out text without appropriate annotation.
One person said that prepacks were often made for many of the staffers before overseas trips. Plastic zip-lock bags would be filled with a mix of Ambien and Provigil, usually a total of five pills. They would be handed out to staff. One source of concern was that senior staff or a staff representative would come by the pharmacy to pick up the pills for their boss.
‘And it was very much a, “hey, I’m here to pick this up for Ms. X.” And the expectation was we just go ahead and pass it out.’
That sounds pretty loosy-goosey as far as handling drugs goes. Ambien an Provigil are not over-the-counter drugs. Prescription drugs require protocol, as a rule. Controlled substances, for example, require record-keeping. The person picking up the drugs has to show photo id and the information is entered into records. It is reported that over-the-counter drugs were stored in open bins which allowed people to take them when they desired to do so.
Here’s the kicker – along comes a random tidbit that a handwritten note from 2014 was found.
The report states it found a handwritten note from March 2014 – when former President Barack Obama was in office – with instructions to give out medications, ‘including all controlled substances,’ to representatives of patients the drugs were intended for ‘without the need to present the patient’s ID card.’
Oh. Look at that. These practices look like they were pretty standard for the White House. Trump’s administration was doing what previous administrations did when it came to the White House pharmacy.
There are claims that the clinic, which is overseen by the White House Military Office, overspent on brand-name drugs though they were required to purchase generic drugs which are cheaper. And, medical care and pharmaceutical services were provided to White House staff who were ineligible. It violated DoD policy.
According to the report, the White House Medical Unit has roughly 60 patients enrolled in its clinic but gave ‘health care by proxy’ to 6,000 White House and other government and employees and contractors, many of whom were not entitled to receive it.
In its conclusion, the DoD OIG advised that the unit should be placed under an ‘oversight plan’ headed by senior health officials in the Department of Defense.
More vigorous policies must put in place for the control and management of prescription medication, the report said.
It also recommended the White House ‘establish controls for White House patient eligibility within the Military Health System.’
I remember hearing a former staffer from the George W Bush administration say that sometimes staff was provided with drugs to help with sleep or jet lag on trips overseas. Other than the need to tighten up record-keeping and monitoring that only those eligible receive the services of the White House pharmacy, I think this is much ado about nothing. It’s an example of taking aim at Trump, this time from his term in office, now that it looks like the general election may be sorted out.
It’s going to be a long nine months until the presidential election.