We already knew that Trump was indignant that the coronavirus was happening on his watch, but now we have some new hard evidence:
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released to CNN on Friday new evidence showing how US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials were pressured by Trump administration officials to alter scientific guidance and prevented from communicating directly with the public.
In new excerpts of transcribed interviews, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the former director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said she was made aware that then-President Donald Trump was angered by a February 25, 2020, briefing during which she warned the public about the dangers of the coronavirus.
Messonnier says in the transcript she had calls with former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and former US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar after the briefing, and that she was “upset” after her conversation with Azar.In the transcripts, other CDC officials described how requests to hold briefings about mask guidance and pediatric Covid-19 cases and deaths were denied. When asked about a CNN report that CDC officials felt “muzzled,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s former principal deputy director, said, “That is the feeling that we had, many of us had.”
In another interview, Dr. Christine Casey, an editor of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, described an email from Trump appointee and former US Health and Human Services adviser Paul Alexander that she saw as a request to stop a report. She called it “highly unusual and quite concerning for somebody to ask to put an immediate stop on MMWR reports. I don’t think in my memory that has ever happened. And, to be accused — because it is accusatory language — that MMWR content is designed to harm our commander in chief, the President.”
Casey said she was instructed to delete the email and was told the direction came from Redfield.The transcripts also include a conversation with Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator, in which she described how the Trump administration pushed for guidance that said people who were not symptomatic did not need to be tested, despite disagreement from health officials. She said it was the intent of Dr. Scott Atlas, a Trump coronavirus adviser, “to change the testing guidance.”
The man with the toughest job in the world simply didn’t want to have anything to do with actually doing it.