May 18, 2018

Warren, Murray Demand Answers on Departure of Top White House Global Health Security Official

Timothy Ziemer's Sudden & Unexplained Departure Linked to Bolton's NSC Reshuffling; His Global Health Team Disbanded; "No Senior Administration Official is Now Focused Solely on Global Health Security"

Text of letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today sent a letter to National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton expressing concern over reports that the top White House official responsible for responding to global health crises has left the Trump Administration - and the global health team he oversaw has been disbanded. The senators noted retired Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer's departure follows NSA Bolton's efforts to reorganize the National Security Council.

"This is a troubling report. It comes amid continuing concerns that the nation and the world are unprepared for pandemic outbreaks or other global public health concerns," wrote the senators. "The threat of a pandemic is serious, and it's important families know we have a vigilant and experienced team in place and working to protect us against public health threats."

In their letter, the senators raised concerns that Mr. Ziemer's departure appears to represent a "downgrading of global health security" and means that "no senior administration official is now focused solely on global health security." Senators Warren and Murray have repeatedly pressed the Trump Administration on its global public health preparedness and response efforts. The Trump Administration, which is also proposing significant cuts to funding for global health, announced Mr. Ziemer's departure one day after the declaration of a new Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The senators asked Mr. Bolton for an explanation of Mr. Ziemer's departure and questioned him about the Administration's readiness for global health security challenges.