A Trump adviser acknowledged in numerous emails last year that the administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was taking a "back seat" to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Dr. Steven Hatfill, a virologist who was heavily involved in the Trump administration's COVID response, repeatedly described how "election stuff" was taking precedence over COVID-19, according to emails obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, and shared with the Washington Post.
"Now with the elections so close, COVID is taking a back-seat, yet the disease is rearing it[s] ugly head again," Hatfill wrote to a colleague in October 2020.
After the election, Hatfill wrote in another email that he had "shifted over (from COVID response) to the election fraud investigation in November."
"In other emails obtained by the subcommittee, Hatfill further detailed his role in the White House's election challenges, including traveling to Arizona in the wake of that state's close election, passing along a 'Plan B for Trump Legal Fight' and sharing debunked rumors of Joe Biden's supposed family ties with a voting machine company," the Post reports.
Asked by a colleague in January why he was not "fixing the pandemic," Hatfill responded by citing his efforts to challenge the election outcome in Nevada, writing, "Because the election thing got out of control. I go where my team goes."
Hatfill's emails also show that his views about the pandemic were shaped by politics. He used a slur to refer to non-Trump voting states in an email about COVID-19 fatality rates, promoted the unproven Trumpian drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for virus, and called for the removal of Dr. Anthony Fauci from the White House's COVID Task Force.
"I actually lost it and told Fauci he was full of crap a couple weeks ago," Hatfill wrote in September.
"Two members of the COVID-19 Task Force (Drs, Fauci and Hahn) need to be urgently replaced with a competent multidisciplinary team of doctors and public health experts actually experienced in operational medicine," Hatfill wrote to Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, a few weeks later.