White House looking to scapegoat CDC for pandemic — and stuff agency with Trump loyalists
US President Donald Trump, pictured at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 6, 2020, has been rebuked for his messaging on the outbreak (Photo: AFP/File / JIM WATSON)

The White House is looking to scapegoat the Centers for Disease Control over the coronavirus pandemic, and then reshuffle leadership at the public health agency.


President Donald Trump's aides have been looking for someone to blame outside of China and the World Healthy Organization, and they've settled on the CDC -- although their attacks may not land with the public, reported Politico.

“WHO is an easy one,” said a former administration official. “It is foreign body in Switzerland. CDC will be tough to create a bogeyman around for the average voter.”

The administration is looking to launch an in-depth evaluation of the agency's early failures to distribute working tests, according to four senior administration officials, and closely examine state-by-state death totals to exclude COVID-19 patients who may have died from other factors.

Aides have also considered shrinking the agency's mission or trying to place more political appointees in leadership roles, according to 10 current and former senior administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.

“The thing to do is take a hard look at the CDC and say, what are the five things that they really need to do, and do it to the exclusion of everything else,” said a former official who was involved in the discussions. “People have been talking about back to basics, core mission.”