by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Elizabeth Holmes was supposed to be some kind of feminist success story. The 37-year-old was the female Steve Jobs — she even dressed the part with her characteristic black turtleneck.
The fact that she is now a convicted fraudster facing decades in prison changes all that. And it calls into question the appalling judgment of everyone who praised her, swindled by her fraud upon her company’s investors and the patients who depended upon its supposedly lifesaving biological tests.
Theranos’s story was only slightly too good to be true. Her company had supposedly developed a revolutionary biological testing system that reduced costs and required far smaller samples than anything currently available. But as with so many fly-by-night startups of the internet era, it turned out that the advanced testing technology had essentially failed to materialize, a fact that Holmes was careful to hide.
Unfortunately, the progressive prejudices of the media and the political class gave Elizabeth Holmes far too much public support. And among those who showed poor judgment in endorsing her sham company and her sham accomplishments was President Joe Biden. In 2015, then-Vice President Biden attended Theranos’s “inaugural health summit” at its machine shop and toured the facility with Holmes herself. He could hardly contain his praise for this scam. In fact, he called it “the laboratory of the future,” and his Twitter account reflected his enthusiastic praise for Holmes and her sham company.
And note that this wasn’t just another Solyndra — an embarrassing and heavily subsidized failure endorsed by a president and his administration. Theranos, the courts have now declared, was an actual fraud, a Potemkin enterprise whose officers covered up and faked results in order to enrich themselves at the expense of investors. This company was operated in such a way that Holmes faces decades in prison.
Already during his administration, Biden has shown quite a bit of the same poor judgment as he showed in praising Holmes and Theranos.