The House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis concluded that former CDC Director Robert Redfield, former CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, and others felt “bullied” by Trump and his administration and that their jobs were threatened if they did not paint a rosy enough view of the pandemic, according to The Washington Post.
“For a while, none of our briefings were approved,” Redfield told the select subcommittee, adding that the American public “should have heard from the public health leaders” during this period. “There was a point where they [CDC staff] stopped asking because they [Trump Administration officials] kept saying no,” Schuchat said.
The report also outlines that “Trump Administration officials repeatedly sought to alter CDC and HHS press materials to promote positive news, downplay coronavirus risks, and attempt to redirect blame away from the Trump Administration for its poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Martin Cetron, director of the agency’s division of global migration and quarantine, said during an interview included in the report that White House adviser Stephen Miller was at the center of using the pandemic as a way to restrict immigration to the U.S. with Title 42, the Post reports.
Although Cetron disagreed with the federal order, Redfield signed it in March 2020.
“This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk,” Democratic Rep. James E. Clyburn, who chairs the panel, said in a statement.
The panel has spent two years creating the 94-page report, which draws on 2,100 pages of interviews and testimony from former White House COVID-19 officials.
The panel also found that Trump appointees hoped to “alter the contents, rebut, or delay the release” of 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs) from the Department of Health and Human Services.
As reported by the Post, Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases, told the panel in a November 2021 interview, “Was I concerned that there was an attempt to alter the scientific content of the MMWR? Yes. Do I think they were successful? No.”
On this week's episode of The Downballot we get medieval on the traditional media for its appalling display of ableism in the wake of John Fetterman's recent NBC interview; recap the absolutely wild goings-on in Los Angeles, where City Council President Nury Martinez just resigned after a racist tirade was caught on tape; dive into the unexpectedly close race for governor in Oklahoma; and highlight a brand-new database from Daily Kos Elections showing how media markets and congressional districts overlap.
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