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Anderson Cooper Smears Brett Giroir as 'Not an Admiral'

CNN’s Anderson Cooper had some dismissive words of criticism for Admiral Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health and member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, but a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services fired back with an arguably harder hit.

Giroir, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude, from Harvard University, and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, has a resume that includes work as a director of DARPA’s Defense Science Office, vice chancellor for the Texas A&M University System, chief executive officer of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, adjunct professor of pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine, and work in the private sector for a biopharmaceutical company  researching cellular immunotherapies for severe infections.

Those distinguished bullet points from his curriculum vitae did not shield him from criticism, however, when news broke that the CDC was revising its testing guidelines and no longer suggesting that people who had been exposed but were asymptomatic needed to get tested for the coronavirus.

The New York Times noted that Giroir “denied that politics were involved,” telling reporters that the new guidelines were “a product produced by the scientific and medical people that was discussed extensively at the task force,” and “[t]here was no weight on the scales by the president or the vice president or [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Alex] Azar.”

During his CNN show, Cooper brought on several medical doctors to criticize the new guidelines, and then dropped a smear against Giroir.

“Admiral Giroir, who’s by the way, not an admiral,” said Cooper. “He works for public health, he gets the title of an admiral but he’s not a Navy admiral. He gets to wear the uniform that’s a Navy uniform, but he’s not in the Navy.”

Cooper is wrong about roughly half of what he said. Admiral Giroir does work for public health, and he’s not in the Navy, but he’s also not wearing a Navy uniform and is an actual real admiral — in an entirely different branch of service.

As part of Giroir’s appointment to Assistant Health Secretary, he became a commissioned officer, a four-star admiral to be specific, in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

The USPHS is one of America’s eight federal uniformed services (along with the Army, Navy, Marines Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps) and the uniforms were modeled after the uniforms of the Navy and Coast Guard, but with specially designed insignia for their service branch.

Michael Caputo, the HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, did not mince words when contacted by Mediaite for a comment, taking swipes at Cooper’s misrepresentations of Giroir’s position and his own privileged background. Cooper’s mother, the fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt, was the great-great-granddaughter of shipping and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and an heir to his fortune.

“The US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of our nation’s eight uniformed services,” wrote Caputo in an email, “and has been around since 1798, saving lives and losing their own around the world, years before Anderson’s great-great-great-grandfather Cornelius made his first million.”

So far during the pandemic, Caputo wrote, “more than 4,000 officers have deployed more than 8,000 times,” adding that “Admiral Giroir salutes their service and is honored to be a full time officer in the Corps.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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