Health care renewal ill-informed, mission-hostile health care leadership… in the white house and the us department of health and human services

We first discussed the hapless Mr Weyeneth in April, 2018. At the time he was appointed to a position in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Mr Weyeneth was 23, had recently finished his bachelor’s degree, and had previously worked as a legal assistant. He rose to be Deputy Chief of Staff, before he was moved to another job.

Weyeneth had worked on the Trump campaign, starting as an intern, rapidly rising to coordinator of interns, then coordinator for national voter services. He joined the Trump transition team in an administrative role which included ‘"helping staff with travel arrangements." In these roles, he was tasked with determining political loyalty. For the campaign he created "a list of Republican lawmakers and political figures who openly supported Trump." For the transition team, he "helped compile a list of trusted politicians who could serve on the ‘beachhead teams‘ that would flood federal agencies in the days and weeks after Trump’s inaguration." We had noted here various ill-informed, and/or conflicted appointments to the beachhead teams that operated in the health care sphere.


Mr Weyeneth subsequently joined the beachhead team for the Treasury Department. From there he jumed to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Then he became Deputy Chief of Staff, third in command of that agency.

Mediaite conducted an extensive review of her social media posts and found that the HHS appointee pushed the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy theory even more than previously reported. Her tweets include smearing former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as ‘a pedophile,’ accusing Democrats of hosting ‘Pedophile dinners,’ and claiming liberals abuse children during satanic rituals.

Smith’s LinkedIn profile claimed he, unlike Ms Barreto, actually had a background in communications/ public relations. His other positions ranged from managing in a real estate firm and a deli, and various political jobs. A managerialist might have deemed him qualified. However, he provides no evidence of any background or experience in medicine, health care, biomedical science, public health or health policy. Thus he was another ill-informed leader.

‘The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity, including posting on Twitter or Facebook, while on duty or in the federal workplace,’ said Daniel Stevens of the Center for Accountability. ‘If James posted comments regarding McMaster while in a federal building or during his work hours, he likely violated the Hatch Act.’

Tim Clark, the agency’s White House liaison who also served as HHS’ interim communications chief this year, in 2016 sent tweets sharing allegations that Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid people to incite violence at Trump’s rallies, based on a hidden-camera video produced by Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe. Democrats disputed the charge and distanced themselves from the individuals in the edited video.

Clark also repeatedly used a #SpiritCooking hashtag to promote his pro-Trump tweets, referencing allegations about Clinton campaign chief John Podesta engaging in Satanic practices, based on an email forwarded to Podesta’s brother Tony and obtained by WikiLeaks. The term ‘spirit cooking’ was used by artist Marina Abramović, who was hosting a dinner and invited the Podestas, and in November 2016 said the term was "taken completely out of my context … it was just a normal dinner."

Clark was the California chairman of Trump’s campaign and became the health department’s chief liaison with the White House, a crucial gatekeeper for the agency’s policies and staffing. Clark worked to hire and protect a number of Trump campaign veterans who were allowed to remain on the job after their social media posts became public, according to multiple sources inside the agency.