Three unnamed sources from the U.S. Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have accused Trump-appointed political officials in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of pressuring the CDC to change its reports on COVID-19 to conform with Republican President Donald Trump’s public statements on the epidemic.
According to a report from Politico, the political pressure began after April when Michael Caputo, “a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background,” was appointed as the HHS spokesperson.
Sources from the CDC accused HHS appointees of asking the CDC to change its past CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) to say that they “wrongly inflated” the risks of COVID-19 and that infected Americans were likely infected because of their own behavior.
In an August 8 email to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other officials, Caputo himself accused CDC scientists of trying to use the reports to “hurt the President.”
HHS appointee Paul Alexander allegedly wrote to Redfield, “The CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration.” He told Redfield to change two reports discussing the risks of children spreading coronavirus while Trump was urging schools to reopen.
Alexander and Caputo also told the CDC to stop all future MMWRs until Alexander could make line edits to ensure that the reports are “fair and balanced and ‘complete'” before they’re released to the public.
“The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy,” Alexander allegedly said.
The CDC sources also accused the HHS of suppressing reports on the ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria medication touted by Trump as a possible COVID-19 treatment even though it can dangerously exacerbate underlying issues. A CDC report on the drug came out a month late.
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‘Illegal Super Spreader MAGA Rally’: Trump Blasted as Photos Reveal No Social Distancing or Masks at His RNC Speech
Many Americans are furious that President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee have intentionally run roughshod over both acceptable norms and likely federal law by holding his renomination convention acceptance speech at the White House. Many are also angry that the coronavirus pandemic is again being ignored by Trump and his supporters.
1000 invited guests are funneling onto the South Lawn. They are sitting in white wooden folding chairs crammed close together.
There will be no coronavirus testing, masks, or social distancing, leading some to label this Republican National Convention a super-spreader event, while others lament the assault on American values and norms.
Here’s a noted national security lawyer weighing in:
Brazen abuse of federal property for an explicitly political event going down tonight at the White House. I decline to watch.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) August 27, 2020
A noted government ethics expert:
I don't need to tell you that this is what they do in authoritarian countries, but I will anyway. pic.twitter.com/uET5dtIIvP
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 27, 2020
And a noted professor of international relations, political scientist and journalist:
What do you call the politically motivated failure to enforce the law by the Attorney General? What should be done about it? Because make no mistake about it, this is a crime scene. https://t.co/T1Ah7AqBae
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 27, 2020
And a former DOJ spokesperson and current MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst:
Been surprised by how many have brushed this off as a small thing when in fact it’s everything. The equation of the person with the state that is antithetical to this nation’s founding and for which Trump was already impeached. https://t.co/Klf0mzoVsI
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) August 27, 2020
Here’s what others are saying:
Super-spreader event. https://t.co/k9jO1q0a95
— Elizabeth C. McLaughlin 🩸🦷 (@ECMcLaughlin) August 27, 2020
Something I never thought I’d see: a political convention ready to gavel in at the White House pic.twitter.com/tLUEtfmtSZ
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) August 27, 2020
"Something I never thought I’d see open crimes by the Republican Party: an illegal political convention ready to gavel in at the White House. Historic corruption in our faces. A dangerous moment" pic.twitter.com/TTVxb6WBVF
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) August 27, 2020
Trump’s entire approach to governing in one photo. He does not care about your well being, even if you’re one of his close supporters. https://t.co/L9juxun21w
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) August 27, 2020
The White House illegally converted into a political gaslighting chamber that will become a COVID-19 super-spreader among the Oval Office occupant’s most trusted circle of elite supporters as he stands before them, trying to deceive a nation he continues to endanger. https://t.co/xpigWPJiW9
— Alexandra Chalupa (@AlexandraChalup) August 27, 2020
Message this sends is pretty clear: he doesn’t care about the law or ending the pandemic or actually solving anyone’s problems. He wants applause and he’ll make America worse to make himself feel better. https://t.co/hg2pP78D1l
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) August 27, 2020
Looks like a super spreader event on the WH lawn on CNN right now. Zero masks. All for the moron to have his adoring crowd as props for his convention. And they are all willing to take the risk 😐
Irresponsible. Dangerous. Ignorant.
Vote. Him. Out.
— ~Mimi~⚖️✌🏻🤎 (@peacelovinMimi) August 27, 2020
the president is going to have a live super spreader event on national tv https://t.co/eybo9z60s0
— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) August 27, 2020
— Kevin Kr😷ut (@kmkrout) August 28, 2020
Why do Republicans feel compelled to flirt with hosting superspreader events over and over? https://t.co/MtBre84xmK
— Kerry Eleveld (@kerryeleveld) August 27, 2020
Our White House being used for an illegal super spreader MAGA rally will be a permanent stain on our country’s history. https://t.co/fjDRjVDtLb
— Janet Johnson (@JJohnsonLaw) August 27, 2020
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