Trump White House Deliberately Undermined Efforts to Contain COVID, Report Says

On Friday, a congressional committee tasked with examining the nation’s COVID-19 response announced that it had uncovered evidence that the Trump administration purposely undermined efforts to manage the spread of the virus in order to personally benefit the former president.

The report comes from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which was established in April 2020 to investigate “the effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and transparency of the nation’s response to the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” The report alleges that it has uncovered “evidence of the Trump Administration’s deliberate efforts to undermine the nation’s coronavirus response for political purposes.”

The report also claims that Trump administration disregarded testing guidance from health experts and silenced its own officials to make the former president look good in an election-year.

“Trump White House officials neglected the pandemic response to focus on the 2020 presidential election and promote the Big Lie that the election results were fraudulent,” the report stated.

The report highlighted a number of instances when the White House promoted false and dangerous ideas on how to deal with the pandemic — including the promotion of so-called “natural herd immunity,” a concept that Many have compared it to the discredited, racist theory of Eugenics.

In August 2020 Trump convened a meeting promoting the ideaScott Atlas, his advisor, was also a natural herd immunity expert. According to the subcommittee’s findings, Deborah Birx, who was a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, emailed then-Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, to tell him that Atlas represented “a fringe group without grounding in epidemics, public health or on the ground common sense experience.” Two months after that meeting took place, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins called for a “devastating published takedown” of Atlas’s proposed herd immunity strategy.

Atlas and other Trump aides also “purposely weakened [the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)] coronavirus testing guidance in August 2020 to obscure how rapidly the virus was spreading across the country,” Birx told the subcommittee. Reducing testing was “contrary to consensus science-based recommendations,” the subcommittee noted.

Trump’s actions at the beginning of the pandemic were also alarming. The ex-president significantly downplayed many of the concerns people had in February 2020. at one point saying the virus was no more than a political “hoax”Democrats and the media to make him appear bad. After a CDC official spoke about the risks COVID-19 posed to public health, the Trump administration blocked requests by that agency to speak with the media for over three years. the subcommittee’s report saidEven refusing to allow CDC officials discuss documented cases in children and deaths from the virus.

Trump’s efforts to obfuscate the reality of the situation in order to benefit politically were well-noted before the subcommittee’s report. His administration was inaugurated in June 2020. Engaged in a smear attack on Anthony Fauci a member of Trump’s own coronavirus task force and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

At the time, a memo was leaked from the White House to reporters suggesting that several officials were “concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.” The memo edited a number of Fauci’s remarks and took comments he made at the start of the pandemic out of context to discredit him.

The effort to discredit Fauci — which ultimately failed — came after the infectious diseases expert made several comments that contradicted Trump’s disinformation about the pandemic.

Trump also spoke that month. The Wall Street JournalThat he didn’t believe masks were effective at preventing the spread of the virus, a belief that has already been proven false.

“They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth,” Trump said. “And then they don’t know how they caught it?”

Trump also said to the publication that mask-wearing individuals were making a political statement about him. Former president didn’t wear a mask in public until July of 2020This move likely discouraged his loyalists wearing them throughout the pandemic.