Trump Nominee Appears to Have Practiced a Wee Bit of Resume Inflation

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Check this out:


Let’s make one thing clear: there was, in fact, a tornado. And it did destroy a bunch of records at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, where Robert Weaver says he worked. And Weaver did work there. That much isn’t in doubt—though it’s not clear why a tornado that hit the hospital in Joplin also destroyed Weaver’s personal copies of his employment records. Just bad luck, I guess.

However, that’s the good news. The rest, via the Wall Street Journal, is…not so good:

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the troubled Indian Health Service appears to have misrepresented his work experience at a Missouri hospital to a Senate committee, according to former employees at the hospital….“I don’t recall that name whatsoever,” said Augusto Noronha….“I’ve never heard that name before,” said Wayne Noethe….Rhonda Foust, who worked in finance at the Joplin hospital from 1981 to 2010, said she doesn’t recall crossing paths with Mr. Weaver….Jane Obert, a longtime manager who served as compliance officer among other jobs from 1992 to 2008, said that his name didn’t ring a bell to her….Diane Sadler, an accounting manager at the hospital from 1993 until 2010, said she worked “side by side with accounts receivable” and never met Mr. Weaver.

Wait a second. Didn’t I say that Weaver really did work at this hospital? Yes I did:

Another former executive, Bob Henderson, who was director of patient financial services, said he recalled a subordinate named Rob Weaver who registered E.R. patients, gathered insurance information and collected copays, and who eventually supervised a few other patient-registration workers….He said he didn’t recall Mr. Weaver ever overseeing accounts receivable or working in budgeting or physician recruitment, or regularly participating in the leadership meetings while working under his chain of command.

According to other hospital officials, Weaver’s position was an entry-level job. But by the time this got typed up as a resume, Weaver’s experience included “various hospital administration positions, including managing all accounts receivable, budgets, patient access and physician recruitment.” This is like one of those parody career advice books, where registering ER intake becomes “patient access” and collecting copays becomes “managing accounts receivable.”

And yet, believe it or not, this still isn’t the best part of the story. Several of Weaver’s defenders said that he had “worked with” the Indian Health Service for two decades:

Asked by the Journal what constituted his IHS experience, the spokeswoman said he had needed the system as a patient, especially when he was a child, and pointed to his career in health care.

I dunno. Maybe Weaver’s experience in later life makes him eminently qualified to run a $6 billion federal agency. That’s certainly what the Trump administration thinks. An HHS spokeswoman told the Journal that “any suggestion Mr. Weaver is unqualified to run IHS is a pure act of character assassination.”

Sure. Whatever. He sounds better qualified than Michael “heckuva job” Brown, anyway.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.