Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are feeling “demoralized” because Trump officials have been imposing “line-by-line edits” to their official health recommendations during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the CDC has been subjected to extraordinary pressure from the Trump White House that has included edits aimed at “altering language written by CDC scientists on church choirs, social distancing in bars and restaurants as well as internal summaries of public-health reports.”
This stands in stark contrast to how the CDC has traditionally been relied upon to handle disease outbreaks.
“When Ebola cases surfaced in the U.S. six years ago, the CDC steered the public health response, holding 13 news briefings in one month and deploying thousands of staff globally to stop the virus,” WSJ notes. “This year, the CDC didn’t hold a single news conference on the coronavirus pandemic in four separate months. White House officials routinely denied the agency’s requests to brief reporters, a former HHS official said.”
Despite the unprecedented influence the White House has exerted over the CDC, many Trump officials are still upset that CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has not done enough to clamp down on rebellious career officials.
“The president doesn’t view Dr. Redfield as an effective communicator, administration officials say, and he has at times publicly criticized him,” WSJ reports. “Administration officials say Mr. Trump is considering adding more political appointees to the CDC if he wins re-election.”