Trump-appointed communication’s aides have demanded — and received — the right to review and seek changes to the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly reports on the coronavirus pandemic, pressuring the CDC not to undermine the president’s message on the progress of the pandemic.
Former Trump campaign official, Michael Caputo, who has no health or scientific background, became the spokesperson of the Health and Human Services department in April, and since then they’ve attempted to have the report echo Trump’s statements that the outbreak is exaggerated or discontinue the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports altogether, POLITICO reports
In emails reviewed by POLITICO, Caputo, and his team made an effort to retroactively change CDC reports that they believe overstated the risks of coronavirus and would place the blame of American’s who became infected on their own behavior.
Caputo’s team also delayed the release of a report for about a month concerning the use of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug pushed by Trump for treatment of coronavirus, over questions surrounding the author’s political leanings.
“CDC appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration,” political appointee Paul Alexander wrote in an email claiming the agency was attempting to undermine Trump’s push to open schools. “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread, and this will impact school re-opening… Very misleading by CDC and shame on them.”
Caputo defended the department’s actions in a statement saying, “Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science,-based data drives policy through this pandemic — not ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of the CDC.”