Trump Pence Attended Indoor Event For Gold Star Families
Trump and the first lady, Pence and the second lady, and dozens of other people attended a Sept. 27 candle lighting ceremony in the White House East Room in honor of Gold Star Family members. Several photos of the event shared by the White House show the attendees standing and sitting in chairs next to one another. None are wearing masks.
Adm. Charles Ray, the No. 2 officer at the Coast Guard who attended the event, later tested positive for COVID-19. Most of the nation’s top military leaders are now quarantining.
Under Donald Trump Key Cdc Us Staff In China Fell To 0
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The correct figures from the CDC show that overall staffing fell but remained higher than what Biden said.
The numbers also show the elimination of all U.S. staff to counter the threat posed by the new coronavirus.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, argues that President Donald Trump failed to protect the country from the coronavirus when he had the chance. In an interview on MSNBC, Biden said Trump “absolutely missed any opportunity to get ahead of this.”
Biden underscored the loss of American staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Beijing.
“We had over 44, if Im not mistaken, people from the CDC in China, in China to observe what was going on,” Biden said May 14. “The president brought home the vast majority of them, I think left only four in place.”
This is an intriguing claim. Biden is off on the exact numbers. But his point about stripped-down oversight is supported. According to the CDC, the program in China specifically charged with spotting new infectious diseases went from having four American staff in 2017 to none by 2019.
Its impossible to say with 100% certainty that if those Americans had been there, they would have been able to alert Washington earlier to an emerging threat. But not having them there eliminated that possibility.
When he said the number fell to four, the actual number by December 2019 was three Americans, and 11 Chinese.
Hiding The Truth Wont Stop The Virus
At the core of Trump and his administrations complaints about the CDC seems to be a concerted effort to make it appear as though America is quickly returning to normal before the November election. That effort was on display at Augusts Republican convention, which was seemingly designed to downplay Americas Covid-19 epidemic.
Trump even admitted to this in an interview with journalist Bob Woodward: I wanted to always play down, Trump said on March 19. I still like playing it down, because I dont want to create a panic.
This is, of course, a terrible way to approach a pandemic. Viruses dont care about politics, and theyll spread as long as people and their governments dont take action to stop them.
Weve seen that time and time again as Trump has meddled with the CDC. Although he and his staff muzzled Messonnier, it turns out she was right Covid-19 has disrupted day-to-day life significantly. After Trump suggested states reopen faster than the CDC recommended, the US saw a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, from California to Arizona to Texas to Florida, as it turned out states had opened prematurely. After Trump pushed schools to reject the CDC guidelines and open quickly, there have been outbreaks in universities and K-12 settings.
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Personnel Leading The Response To Pandemic With Ties To Healthcare Industry
Several Trump administration officials managing the crisis have ongoing conflicts of interest. For example, the presidents vaccine chief, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, has ties to pharmaceutical interests. Dr. Slaoui is a contractor and therefore exempt from federal disclosure rules that could reveal his potential conflicts. Although Slaoui pledged to donate any increase in the value of his investments to the National Institutes of Health, his contract states he does not have to do so until after the deaths of both Dr. Slaoui and his wife. Other top advisers on the governments vaccine development project also hold stock in companies developing coronavirus treatments and vaccines that have received millions of dollars in government contracts.
Likewise, President Trumps son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner has an investment in a health insurance company that the administration engaged to create a government website for coronavirus testing, raising potential legal issues. Additionally, the fact that the president and some of his personal associates and political donors have financial interests in the manufacture of the antimalarial drugs that the president has touted, despite a lack of evidence of their effectiveness in treating Covid-19, raises at least the appearance of conflicts of interest.
Trump Pence Met With Barrett Family In Close Quarters
Trump and first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, her husband, Jesse, and their children in the Oval Office on Sept. 26. Several photos of the event shared by the White House show the group standing and sitting less than 6 feet apart. None are wearing masks.
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The senators requested a response by Feb. 27, but the NSC did meet that deadline, nor did it respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Retired Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer held the position of senior director for global health security and biodefense on the NSC from April 2017 to July 2018. He previously coordinated the Presidents Malaria Initiative under President George W. Bush, and is now the senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the US Agency for International Development .
Cutbacks at that agency under the Trump administration are also receiving new scrutiny.
Last year, the USAID program known as PREDICT was shuttered. The initiative was launched in 2009 and designed to improve the detection and discovery of zoonotic viruses with pandemic potential. The program is credited with identifying nearly a thousand new zoonotic viruses, which are transmitted between animals and humans, and influencing the response effort currently being employed to combat the coronavirus, which is a zoonotic infection.
Trump Budget Proposal A Disinvestment In Us Health: Cuts To Cdc Hrsa
Despite increasing health threats, the White House is calling for slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from the countrys lead public health agencies.
In February, President Donald Trump released his federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2021, calling for a cut of more than $693 million at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a $742 million cut to programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. Overall, the presidents budget proposes a 9% funding cut at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a 26% cut at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending, and funding decreases for safety net programs such as food and housing assistance.
This budget, put simply, is a disinvestment in the health of Americans, said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, in a news release. We have an incredibly dedicated public health workforce that is ready to act. But we need federal investments to make that happen. An adequate and rational investment in the health of Americans is missing from this budget.
While White House budget proposals are typically considered dead on arrival meaning the final budget that makes it out of congressional negotiations and is signed into law will likely look nothing like Trumps proposal health advocates warn that it still serves as a starting point for negotiations.
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Requiring Food Relief Program To Disseminate Letters From The President Claiming Credit For It In Lead
President Trump has used a federal food relief program as an opportunity to promote himself in the lead-up to the presidential election, a move that has program partners concerned that they may be forced to engage in improper political activity.
Millions of Americans have faced food insecurity due to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with some studies estimating almost a quarter of American households have been struggling to afford sufficient food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the distribution of food relief packages to people in need through its Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law on March 18, 2020 the USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service partners with local, regional, and national distributors that package the food boxes, then bring them to food banks and other nonprofit organizations serving those in need. The four billion dollar program has distributed more than 100 million boxes since it launched this May.
In late September, the USDA began requiring that government-contracted vendors include letters from President Trump in which he takes credit for the program in boxes they distributed. Some nonprofit leaders charged with disseminating the letter feared that distributing or removing the letters could be viewed as a political endorsement in violation of their organizations obligation to remain nonpartisan to maintain tax-exempt status under federal law.
Shadow Coronavirus Task Force Marred By Nepotism Conflicts Of Interest Inexperience And Lack Of Transparency
Despite the existence of an official coronavirus task force led by the vice president, the presidents son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, runs a shadow task force to manage the pandemic, raising numerous issues.
Kushner himself has no training or experience managing public health issues or crises. The same is true of many of the shadow task force volunteers, many of whom come from private equity and consulting firms. None of the task force members, several of whom are healthcare industry investors, have complied with federal ethics disclosure requirements designed to protect against the influence of special interests. And volunteers on the task force often communicate with private email accounts, raising concerns about their compliance with federal records laws.
In addition to the shadow task forces transparency issues, many private sector volunteers helping with its efforts to procure PPE and other medical supplies possess little to no experience in government procurement practices. This has hampered efforts to obtain and distribute critical equipment. Indeed, the United States continues to face supply shortages of needed materials and lacks an effective national strategy to procure and distribute supplies.
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Flouting Expert Guidance Leading To White House Coronavirus Outbreak
Disregarding public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the White House hosted what medical experts are calling a coronavirus super spreader event on September 26, 2020, to announce the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Over 200 people attended the densely packed event, where guests mingled indoors as well as outside, with few wearing masks or physically distancing from one another. According to a White House official, this is where President Trump, along with Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis and members of the military, may have become infected with the coronavirus. At least 34 White House staffers and other contacts have been infected, including members of the White House housekeeping staff, as well as White House reporters.
As public health experts have explained throughout the pandemic, contact tracing is essential to stopping the spread of the virus. However, for nearly a week after the president announced that he had contracted the virus, the White House refused to allow the CDC to perform contact tracing , even though the CDC has the federal governments most extensive resources to do so. In the absence of a systematic effort to trace or advise attendees of the White House event, many dispersed across the country, engaging in activities that risked spreading the virus, including visiting public gyms and touring manufacturing facilities.
Suspending Environmental Law Enforcement
The Environmental Protection Agency suspended enforcement of many environmental laws during the Covid-19 crisis, citing the pandemic as a justification without explaining why it would necessitate such steps. The EPA to disclose information about companies seeking a reprieve from compliance under the nonenforcement policy. The Associated Press found that the EPA permitted hundreds of oil and gas companies to stop monitoring emissions and bypass other rules aimed at protecting the environment and public health, contradicting an EPA spokespersons claim to lawmakers that there had not been a significant impact on routine compliance, monitoring and reporting as a result of the pandemic.
Research shows a link between air pollution and fatalities from Covid-19, with air pollution associated with a nine percent higher death rate from the disease, meaning that a failure to regulate pollution could exacerbate the crisis. Without an explanation from the EPA for its decision to suspend enforcement during the pandemic, it is difficult to know whether the agency considered health impacts before releasing this policy.
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Trump Offers Guard To Replace Cdc
The Trump administration is ready to ask governors to send the National Guard to collect hospitalization data, including information about patients and supply chain, thus circumnavigating the CDC’s role as the primary repository for data collection in the pandemic.
According to a Washington Post story based on leaked documents and emails, Health and Human Services officials yesterday “finalized a new data reporting protocol for hospitals, which will eliminate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a data recipient, leaving health-care institutions to report information about covid-19 to a federal contractor or to their state, which would coordinate the federal reporting.”
The administration said the reason to do this is to provide expedited information to state leaders.
Trump Ends Cdc Virus Data Collection Who’s Filling In
The Trump administrations removal of the CDC from the COVID-19 data collection process has raised concerns. But the CDC has agreed to step out of the government’s traditional data collection process “in order to streamline reporting.”
Hospital data related to the coronavirus pandemic in the United States will now be collected by a private technology firm, rather than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a move the Trump administration says will speed up reporting but one that concerns some public health leaders.
The CDC director said Wednesday that he’s fine with the change even though some experts fear it will further sideline the agency. The CDC has agreed to step out of the government’s traditional data collection process “in order to streamline reporting,” Dr. Robert Redfield said during a call with reporters set up by the agency’s parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
HHS officials recently posted a document on the agency’s website that redirected hospitals’ daily reporting of a range of data meant to assess the impact of the coronavirus on them. TeleTracking Technologies, based in Pittsburgh, will now collect that information.
However, if hospitals are already directly reporting to state health departments, they can get a written release from the state to keep doing that.
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