TEHRAN (Iran News) –Trump Officials Bragged About Pressuring CDC to Alter COVID Reports. Congressional investigators released emails and documents that show Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appointees under former President Donald Trump regularly bragged about their efforts to alter staff scientists’ reports on the coronavirus.
Officials tried to rewrite the weekly scientific reports so Trump could use the data to support his political positions on wearing masks and reopening the economy, according to the emails released Friday by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus, CNBC reported.
“Our investigation has shown that Trump Administration officials engaged in a persistent pattern of political interference in the nation’s public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, overruling and bullying scientists and making harmful decisions that allowed the virus to spread more rapidly,” said subcommittee Chairman Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.
Clyburn accused former White House COVID-19 advisor Dr. Scott Atlas of advocating for “policies that would allow the virus to spread widely among many Americans”.
Documents obtained by the panel show that Atlas was “aware of, and may have participated in, efforts to attack reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to justify Trump’s push to reopen”, Clyburn added.
Atlas and other political appointees within HHS succeeded on several occasions in changing language and influencing the tone of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, which offer weekly public updates on scientists’ findings, the panel found. MMWRs are data-based scientific studies that aren’t usually susceptible to political pressure.
The investigation was first launched after reports surfaced that Trump demanded the right to change the CDC’s reports. The emails show Trump administration officials bragging about altering the reports.
“Small victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!” former science advisor Paul Alexander wrote in a September 9 email to let then-HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo know he was successful in changing the opening line of a CDC report about COVID-19 transmission in school children.
Just two days later, Alexander requested Atlas’ help in altering another CDC report on COVID-19 deaths among young people that Alexander said was “timed for the election” in order to keep schools closed.
“Can you help me craft an op-ed,” Alexander wrote to Atlas, adding, “Let us advise the President and get permission to preempt this please for it will run for the weekend so we need to blunt the edge as it is misleading.”
Earlier in the month, Alexander had asked Atlas to draft another op-ed to oppose masks for children and school closures during the pandemic.
“I think a short 400 word op-ed on this will help people push back to school, I do think locking down our kids (and healthy adults) and masking them can dampen their functional immune systems. Do you think this can be done???” Alexander wrote in a September 3 email.
Alexander famously stated “we want them infected” in arguing for a herd immunity strategy in a July 4 email that was released by Clyburn’s investigators in December.
In pressing for the same strategy in the fall, Atlas wrote, “Universities should stay open, even when they see an increase in cases… Yes, cases will increase among young people as they socially interact, but that shouldn’t be a cause for panic,” echoing dangerous herd immunity theories, in an op-ed published September 15.
A draft of that op-ed was first edited and revised by Alexander, according to a September 8 email.