Donald Trump's pick to head the Indian Health Services, with oversight of millions of Native American lives, has been caught fabricating elements on his resume.
Donald Trump has targeted a series of attacks and insults towards the Native American community, and he is back at it with the nomination of Robert Weaver to head the Indian Health Services.
Investigative reporting by the Wall Street Journal has uncovered that Weaver seriously inflated his resume with what appear to be outright fabrications, even as Trump seeks to put him in charge of a system affecting millions of lives.
When confronted by these discrepancies, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services department made the absurd assertion that Weaver’s use of the Indian Health Services as a child was a decent substitute for the gaps in his resume.
The troubling revelation fits into Trump’s behavior pattern of insulting Native Americans and of nominating blatantly unqualified people perfectly, though. At a recent event to honor Navajo code talkers, Trump went on a rant describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as “Pocahontas,” the latest instance of him evoking an anti-Native slur while smearing a Democrat.
Then he ignored the concerns of Native American tribes who have sought to protect thousands of acres in Utah containing sacred sites. Trump instead decided to open up the territory to exploitation by energy companies, rather than respecting the dead.
The Indian Health Services is a federal agency with a $6 billion budget that operates 26 hospitals, overseeing health care for over 2 million Native Americans.
On his resume, Weaver claims to have held “supervisory and management positions” when he worked at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri between 1997 and 2006.
But the Journal’s investigation into this assertion found evidence that considerably contradicts Weaver.
Former officials at the hospital describe Weaver’s position as “entry level.” Augusto Noronha, who served as chief financial officer for the hospital, told the paper, “I don’t recall that name whatsoever.”
“I’ve never heard that name before,” confirmed Wayne Noethe, a former controller at the hospital. And another former executive there merely remembered Weaver as a subordinate who registered emergency room patients and gathered their insurance information.
Rhonda Foust, the former budget coordinator at the hospital, said she never crossed paths with Weaver. Jane Obert, a compliance officer who worked there, had no idea who Weaver was. Diane Sadler, an accounting manager who worked at the hospital for 17 years said she never met him, and even told the Journal, “I’m sure I would have remembered the last name Weaver because that was my grandmothers last name.”
In a meeting with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Weaver claimed that part of his management role involed oversight of between 85 to 100 staffers. But a financial services director at the hospital said that Weaver worked in a department that included about 35 people but as far as he knew he only supervised a portion of them.
Udall’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Talhelm, told the Journal that Weaver could not even remember his title that he used at the hospital.
Trump has insisted on picking unqualified and unworthy candidates for serious positions in the government that impact millions of lives. Multiple judicial nominees have had to have their nominations pulled after their ignorance of the law was exposed.
In Weaver, there is the toxic brew of a Trump nominee who inflated his resume and has been caught doing so, combined with Trump’s bigoted chain of events toward Native Americans. Millions of lives hang in the balance but Trump just doesn’t care.