Two Trump-appointed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials this week revealed the lengths to which President Donald Trump's White House went to meddle with the agency's public health guidelines.
In interviews with the New York Times, former CDC chief of staff Kyle McGowan and his deputy, Amanda Campbell, detailed how multiple White House officials who had no expertise in public health would regularly order changes to the CDC's pandemic protocols.
"Mr. McGowan and Ms. Campbell mediated between [CDC Director Robert] Redfield and agency scientists when the White House’s requests and dictates would arrive: edits from... Kellyanne Conway, the former White House adviser, on choirs and communion in faith communities, or suggestions from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and aide, on schools," reports the Times.
According to McGowan, the CDC routinely watered down its guidance under pressure from the Trump political team.
"Every time that the science clashed with the messaging, messaging won," he told the Times.
McGown also called out the White House for its treatment of Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who angered Trump this past February when she publicly acknowledged that the novel coronavirus would become a major public health crisis.
“There’s not a single thing that she said that didn’t come true,” McGowan said. “Is it more important to have her telling the world and the American public what to be prepared for, or is it just to say, ‘All is well?’”