Why is the CDC shelling out $55,000 on credibility training for Dr. Rochelle Walensky?
Apparently, Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been embarrassing the Biden administration.
As if such a thing were possible.
According to Politico:
The Biden administration spent $25,750 and authorized an additional $30,500 for media training and executive coaching for the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ROCHELLE WALENSKY, according to internal CDC expense authorization filings obtained by West Wing Playbook.
Starting in October 2021, Walensky enlisted longtime Democratic political consultant MANDY GRUNWALD for media training, conducted virtually, at a cost of about $500 per hour, according to the filings. In total, the CDC has paid Grunwald’s firm $16,000, with authorization to spend $14,000 more.
The expense authorization filings from the CDC require a stated “training objective.” And in that training objective field, Grunwald’s firm wrote that it would “assist [Walensky’s] team in crafting clear language to communicate CDC's public health guidance and coach Dr. Walensky to effectively deal with television interviews and other public communications."
That's a lot of money for a lot of stupid.
No doubt about it, Walensky was really, really, bad on the public relations front -- it was the first thing anyone noticed about her. Prior to this cash splashout for coaches and 'training,' I looked up the public relations disasters of hers that I wrote about in 2021, starting with her big splashy introduction from doddering Joe himself in February 2021:
At a time when Americans are starting to suspect a COVID-industrial complex with an entrenched interest in permanent lockdowns, out comes Joe Biden with a very bizarre video tweet from his newly appointed CDC director:
The Biden administration's CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is quite a puddle of emotions.
She first struck us as weird by putting out a public service ad urging the wearing of masks by smiling mirthlessly all the way through her spiel about the terrible things that would happen if she didn't, finishing off with a flippant schoolgirl giggle.
Now she's turning on the glurge.
By July 2021, it came to this:
The more CDC director Rochelle Walensky talks, the worse she sounds.
Along with her well noted controversial statements about returning to mask-wearing and a nationally mandated COVID vaccine, the latter of which she walked back to some extent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director threw out other nutty statements that are worth noting — if for nothing else, then the fact that Joe Biden says he defers to her and her continuously mistaken bureaucrats at CDC.
Breitbart News reported that a question about illegal border-crossers spreading COVID, from Fox News's Bret Baier, triggered this exchange:
Baier said, "But do you know the surge, how the surge of illegal immigrants with COVID is affecting the overall rate, you know, it sounds like the percentages down there on the border are astronomical?"
Walensky said, "Yeah, you know, I would say that the percentages in the southern part of this country are really quite high. I don't necessarily think we can attribute all of that to what's going on at the southern border. I think what we really need to do is spend our time getting our communities vaccinated to getting our individuals vaccinated to prevent disease from transmitting in our communities."
It's distinctly bad messaging, but it's the kind that is nearly impossible to fix, given that the problem was bad policy, not bad messaging, that made the Biden administration response to COVID such a mess. Far from this being an inability to regulate one's emotions in front of the the cameras, it was an inability to regulate policy, the twists and shifts and spins and lies of an administration with a lockdown agenda it wanted to extend forever, complete with unvaccinated illegals stoking the disease. It wasn't a spin-doctor problem, which ought to have been an easily correctable in-house skill for her to master with no cash splashed out to $500/an hour coaches, it was a doctor-doctor problem.
But leave it to the Biden administration to blame "messaging" instead of policy for the blunders, we can see that all through the Biden administration -- from Joe's gaffes and persistent whinings that he doesn't get the credit he thinks he deserves, to the out-of-control clownery of Kamala Harris, along with many, many more instances. It's always a messaging problem with these people, never a policy problem. They seem to think the public is stupid and can be made to believe that $5.00 a gallon gas isn't so bad given that it was $5.20 a week earlier, or that inflation is fine here given that it's worse in other countries (which is only a few of them).
Bad messaging, though, is big bucks for certain political animals.
The characters chosen to coach Walensky weren't plain-vanilla pros at this "art," but Clinton political operatives, such as Mandy Grunwald, and a couple of other blasts from the past, which rather smells of some kind of favoritism or payoff, particularly given their $500/an hour rates. The government couldn't find anyone cheaper to clean up ol' Rochelle for the cameras? Politico notes that the government actually employs and pays for an in-house shop of public relations professionals, but somehow, the Clinton characters got the large payouts.
And, umm -- their results were meager.
We know this isn't a bank-breaker in terms of government spending. But it obviously didn't represent value to the taxpayers, either. It was a snoot at the trough for Clinton operatives, and it shows the extent to which the old Clinton crew are directing Bidenites at a pretty penny for themselves. It should pay for someone's swimming pool out in the Virginia suburbs. It's good trough politics for the swamp, bad stuff for the American people, given that thousands of these operatives may be doing similar cash pulls.
More disturbingly, Politico also reports that Walensky, a supposedly "qualified" person for the top medical regulator, having served as a director or advisor at some hospital in the Boston area earlier, as well as a Harvard teaching post, spent and authorized more spending for around $25,000 to coach Walensky on her management skills. That's remedial management, something you shouldn't expect to find in any director of a government agency.
What kind of a chaotic mess has she made over there on the management front that she would need this kind of taxpayer money spent, and does she have any idea how to manage anything?
Here's a whiff of her management record that I wrote about from May 2021, following a New York Post report that the teachers' unions were caught writing CDC policy on school closures over COVID concerns:
The Post described a "flurry" of emails between not just Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Biden's newly appointed CDC director and union bigs, with plenty of gushy praises in the lovey-dovey exchanges, but also the White House, which then very much played a part in the weird CDC behavior in the month of February following the exchanges.
Walensky, recall, had been in trouble with this bunch, because when she first came on the job, she did say schools could safely re-open and teachers did not have to be vaccinated.
Then the unions got involved, and she took a U-turn.
A top government official with immense power over regulations and government policy shouldn't be any union's willing puppet let alone need basic management coaching.
With cash splashed out like this, it raises the question of what Walensky was good for? She couldn't manage, she couldn't communicate, apparently she knew nothing useful for her $180,000 a year job. The results spoke for themselves: a 2021 poll reported by NPR showed that just half the public trusted anything the CDC said on Walensky's watch. Subsequent polls showed that trust was even lower after that.
Why was she there other than she's just another political loyalist to Team Biden? And with COVID policy falling apart and CDC credibility at a rock-bottom low among the public now that ultra-vaxxed Joe has caught COVID a second time, why is she still there?
Image: Twitter video screen shot