President Donald Trump and other White House officials are reportedly tuning out public health experts -- who they believe are "deep state Democrats" who are working against the president's re-election.
The Washington Post reported that officials with the Centers for Disease Control are feeling pressure from the president to sign off on reopening schools and businesses despite dire coronavirus risks, and Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that's what he's hearing, as well.
"That seems to be the new narrative," Lemire said. "These are whispers that have grown louder throughout the West Wing to reporters in recent weeks, and in particular the last few days, there’s a sense of frustration from those in the building behind me."
White House officials blame the CDC for early failures and delays in the coronavirus response, Lemire said, but now they're angry at public health officials for focusing too much on public health.
"The White House believes and valuable time was lost in the early days in January, February as the coronavirus was just reaching American shores," Lemire said, "and since then they feel like the CDC overcorrected and tried to, as hard as this is to believe, spend too much of a focus on the public health concern, that the CDC has put roadblocks up in terms of economic reopening, that just in the last week its guidelines for safely reopening schools were too strict, and the White House pushed them to re-evaluate and it's developing some of its own guidelines."
That fits the administration's pattern of placing the president's political and personal needs above public interest, Lemire said.
"This is an administration that from the Oval Office itself has always viewed anyone who gets in the president's way, even in the course of doing their job -- career officials, longtime political servants -- are political enemies and should be pushed aside," Lemire said. "We're seeing that as the president's poll numbers continue to slip as he bet so much on the return to normalcy, the reopening of the economy, which includes the reopening schools, and they feel the CDC has been getting in the way, and the president has been listening less and less to the people there."
That includes Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who have helped lead the coronavirus task force since the beginning, Lemire said.
"Dr. Fauci fell out of favor with the president some time ago, and now there's stories that Dr. Birx has irritated the inner circle and a sense that she's also losing her influence inside the building," he said.