Trump appointees oversaw a concerted effort to restrict immigration at the U.S.-Mexican border during the pandemic, change scientific reports and muzzle top officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to emails, text messages and interviews gathered by a congressional panel probing the pandemic response.
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, former top deputy Anne Schuchat and others described how the Trump White House and its allies repeatedly “bullied” staff, tried to rewrite their publications and threatened their jobs in an attempt to align the CDC with the more optimistic view of the pandemic espoused by Donald Trump, the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis concluded in a report released Monday.
Several public health officials detailed a months-long campaign against Schuchat sparked by Trump appointees’ belief that her grim assessments of the pandemic reflected poorly on the president, leading Schuchat, a 32-year CDC veteran, to openly wonder if she would be fired in the summer of 2020, her colleagues told the panel.
The panel’s latest report also offers new insight into key flash points, such as a CDC-backed plan to require masks on public and commercial transportation in the summer of 2020, with Martin Cetron, director of the agency’s division of global migration and quarantine, citing evidence that the requirement would have reduced covid risks to travelers. [Continue reading…]