A massive, bombshell report published Friday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis reveals the Trump administration engaged in "unprecedented political interference" in the work of scientific experts, including at CDC, and "was responsible for a series of critical failures that undermined the nation’s ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus pandemic."
One heading from the 46-page report reads: "The Trump Administration’s Persistent Political Interference in the Pandemic Response Contributed to One of the Worst Failures of Leadership in American History."
In a devastating revelation, the report adds that "Trump Administration officials purposefully weakened" CDC's "testing guidance to reduce the amount of testing being conducted and obscure how rapidly the virus was spreading across the country.
"The Select Committee finds administration officials "championed a dangerous 'herd immunity' strategy inside the White House—including by arranging a roundtable event between then-President Trump and a fringe group of herd immunity proponents—that would have placed millions of lives at risk."
It alleges it has new evidence showing that "Trump White House officials blocked CDC briefings and media appearances, and attempted to sidestep CDC in finalizing coronavirus guidance. The Select Subcommittee also uncovered evidence showing that Trump White House officials neglected the pandemic response to focus on the 2020 presidential election and promote the Big Lie that the election results were fraudulent."
But the Trump administration's failures date back to the very beginning of the pandemic, the reports reveal, with the administration ignoring warnings from its own officials to obtain critical supplies including PPE (personal protective equipment) which ultimately led to medical professionals including doctors and nurses being forced to wear trash bags and reuse medical-grade face masks for days and weeks at a time.
The report often avoids accusing specific individuals but in one damning example it says career scientists were "instructed to destroy evidence of political interference."
A "CDC official confirmed...she was instructed to destroy evidence of political interference by a Trump Administration political appointee. The CDC official told the Select Subcommittee that she understood this instruction—which 'seemed unusual' and made her 'uncomfortable'—came from then-CDC Director [Robert] Redfield.
The report also delves into massive fraud and waste, and while not using the word "corruption " offers concerning examples of the administration's interference in coronavirus programs. Trump White House officials were involved in the approval process of the Treasury' Department's approval of a $700 million loan to one trucking company.
"Reports have raised serious doubts that [the trucking company] satisfied the criteria to be deemed 'critical' to national security and questioned its use of funds." That one loan represented 95 percent of the entire program's funding.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet