Trump's task force quietly shortened CDC's no-sail order for cruise ships: report
The Grand Princess belongs to Princess Cruises, the same company which operated the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month on which more than 700 people on board tested positive (Photo: INTERPRESS/AFP/File / STRINGER)

On Monday, USA Today reported that President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force quietly shortened the cruise ship restrictions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"After the nation's top disease response agency posted orders keeping cruise ships docked last Wednesday night, extending the ban through August, the White House Coronavirus Task Force stepped in to cut it by 20 days," wrote Curtis Tate, Morgan Hines, Cara Kelly, and Brett Murphy. "When the no-sail order reappeared on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website hours later, its language had been softened: Ships can sail again in July, and an explicit warning that they could be docked even longer had been deleted, according to emails and internal documents obtained by USA TODAY."

On Thursday morning, just after the notice was posted, a CDC official wrote to staff, "Sorry to do this, but the Office of the Vice President has instructed us to pull the No Sail Order Extension from the website immediately."

"The industry’s most profitable season is the summer, so a shorter time frame on the no-sail order could help it get back out to sea in time to recoup some of its losses," said the report. "A hint that the order could be extended would undermine that goal."

Trump has long been toying with the idea of granting stimulus relief to the cruise industry, which would be controversial because most of these companies are not American and do not comply with American laws or taxes. He has a longtime friendship with the chairman of Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line, which has sponsored multiple seasons of his reality show "The Apprentice."