There have been many pop culture figures to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
Army Gen. Gustave Perna is not one of them.
Perna, a four-star general who is chief operations officer for Operation Warp Speed, could have became a coronavirus celebrity like Dr. Anthony Fauci or New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but he has something far more admirable than fame: Humility.
As CNBC and other news outlets reported last week, many states had been told they would receive more doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine from the federal government than they actually will, at least at the beginning. That’s caused problems at the state level actually determining where the vaccines will be distributed.
At a news conference on Saturday, according to Newsweek, Perna did not sidestep like most officials in Washington would.
“I want to assure everybody, and I want to take personal responsibility for the miscommunication. I know that’s not done much these days, but I am responsible, and I take responsibility for the miscommunication,” Perna said.
He then explained what went wrong.
“The number of doses available to us to allocate ended up being lower, so as we gave forecasts to the jurisdictions and governors and states worked their priorities against those forecasts, what we had to decide was what was going to be shipped out, I had to lower the allocations to meet the releasable doses that were presented to me.”
GUS PERNA, the general running logistics for Operation Warp Speed, takes sole responsibility for a big problem with Pfizer vaccine rollout: states report they’re getting less than they were promised.
“It was my fault,” Perna says. “It was a planning error, and I am responsible.” pic.twitter.com/LbMpT9l23B
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) December 19, 2020
On social media, Perna’s announcement was greeted with the predictable avalanche from liberals who despise the Trump administration, but there were several who simply saluted Perna’s handling of the crisis.
If there is anything to be grateful for it’s that a leader finally stepped up and voiced their own mistakes and took responsibility. Wouldn’t it be a mad world indeed, if all leaders acted as if they were human?
— Dakota Kingston (@Undead_Weiner) December 20, 2020
Impressive. Someone taking full responsibility. Takes all the Oxygen out of the conspiracy theory.
— jestferlaffs (@jestferlaffs) December 19, 2020
What? A leader acknowledging and owning up to his mistake? A breath of fresh air.
— David Herrmann (@herrmanndigital) December 19, 2020
Perna’s comments are a prime example of what true leadership looks like.
Even if he was not directly responsible for the incident, as the head of the project, he stepped up anyway.
Operation Warp Speed has easily been one of the most important efforts in the United States’ handling of the pandemic, and Americans should be grateful for the quick development of a vaccine.
Governors and public health officials need to take note from a military leader such as Perna on how to tackle problems head on.
It may be the fact that Perna has nothing to gain from lying, unlike most people in elected office.
Meanwhile, Congress is not even capable of passing a new coronavirus relief bill without the constant threat of a government shutdown. Congress finally agreed on a relief bill on Sunday that was due to be voted on on Monday.
Breaking News: Congress agreed on a stimulus deal that would give $600 checks to Americans and provide funds for small businesses and vaccine distribution. https://t.co/7IV9cSBoH2
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 20, 2020
Perna’s military values of service and integrity need to make their way into the political side of government, although that will likely remain a pipe dream.
As to whether they’ll ever make him a pop culture celebrity, dream on.
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