Redirecting Funding For Personal Protective Equipment To Military Supplies
In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which allocated $1 billion to the Department of Defense for the purpose of building up the nations supplies of medical equipment to combat Covid-19. Department of Defense officials diverted most of that funding to defense contractors to produce military supplies unrelated to the treatment or prevention of Covid-19, including jet engine parts, body armor, and uniforms. This diversion of funding is part of a pattern of the administration misallocating pandemic relief money.
Implementing Extreme Immigration Restrictions Without A Clear Public Health Rationale
The Trump administration has used the pandemic to justify drastic changes to immigration policy. Administration officials have not provided credible explanations for why these measures are necessary to promote public health, suggesting they are more likely aimed at advancing President Trumps longstanding goal of restricting immigration.
In order to justify the suspension of several immigration laws for which immigration hardliners in the administration have long advocated, the president and the secretary of health and human services alleged without evidence that migrants were spreading the coronavirus. These controversial changes include blocking asylum-seekers from entering the United States and violating due process protections by immediately deporting immigrants who cross the southern border without documents. Although claiming to reduce the spread of infection, Customs and Border Protections immediate deportation procedures force migrants into close contact with each other, provide no exceptions to expulsion protocols for health concerns, and do not involve medical screening prior to removal.
Evidence Shows Obama Team Left A Pandemic Game Plan For Trump Administration
When discussing pandemic preparedness and COVID-19, learly, the Obama administration did not leave any kind of game plan for something like this.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a May 11 Team Trump Facebook Live interview with Lara Trump
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell alleged that the Obama administration did not provide the Trump administration with any information about the threat of a possible pandemic during a May 11 Team Trump Facebook Live discussion with Lara Trump.
This story was produced in partnership with PolitiFact.
This claim caught our attention because its definitive nature was directly at odds with the position of some former Obama administration officials, who immediately disputed it and started circulating on social media the link to such a plan.
We reached out to McConnells press team to ask for the basis of his statement. McConnell spokesperson David Popp said in an emailed response that this is a unique crisis and we are all adapting to the public health and economic challenges. In terms of the pandemics economic impact, he said there was definitely no playbook there and instead credited McConnell with his work on the CARES Act, a coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress.
The Pandemic Playbook
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Political Official Seeking To Censor And Attack Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official who became a top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services , led a campaign alongside his personal scientific adviser to censor scientific publications at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and undermine CDC experts who sought to warn the public of the dangers of the coronavirus.
In June, after CDC Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat urged Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Caputo and his scientific adviser Dr. Paul Alexander accused her of seeking to undermine President Trump. Dr. Alexander contradicted Dr. Schuchat by falsely claiming that Covid-19 posed basically 0 risk to children. Caputo then intervened with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield to attempt to get Dr. Schuchat reprimanded or fired. Caputo also sought to punish CDC communications officials who had allowed a CDC epidemiologist to speak with NPR about the Trump administrations efforts to stop hospitals from reporting Covid-19 cases to the CDC.
Mostly False: President Donald Trump Cut Funding To The Cdc Fired The Pandemic Response Team Refused Who Tests And Wasted Two Weeks Calling This Outbreak A Democrat Hoax
Explanation: Trump did attempt to cut the CDCs funding, but Congress prevented it from happening. While officials in charge of the U.S. response to pandemics did leave in 2018, its unclear if they were fired. The U.S. was not on a list of countries receiving COVID-19 tests from the WHO. But the U.S. does not usually rely on the agency for diagnostic tests, and the testing delay was due mainly to an error with the CDCs protocol. While Trump has called the Democratic response to the coronavirus a hoax, he has not used the term to describe the virus itself.
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Changing Data Reporting Procedures For Unclear Reasons And Without Transparency
The Trump administration has sought to sideline the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , which Trump has repeatedly clashed with during the pandemic, from its usual role in compiling national data on infectious diseases. This effort began in , when the government awarded a $10.2 million contract to TeleTracking Technologies to set up a coronavirus database housed at the Department of Health and Human Services .
The Trump administration first tried to use financial pressure to coerce hospitals to use the new system refusing to provide emergency medical funding to hospitals that didnt send Covid-19 admissions and intensive care data to the TeleTracking database. The threat to withhold funding came at a time when hospitals faced both increased admissions and due to the pandemic.
When Senate Democrats demanded information on the TeleTracking contract and the policy change, TeleTracking refused to discuss the deal owing to a nondisclosure agreement with the Trump administration a serious departure from normal practices of transparency surrounding federal contracts. Michael Caputo, a top political staffer at the Department of Health and Human Services , also sought to punish CDC communications workers who allowed a CDC epidemiologist to speak with the press about the decision to have a private contractor assume responsibility for data collection that the CDC has long held.
Trump Organization Seeking Benefits From Trump Administration And Foreign Governments
The presidents failure to divest from his business interests has created myriad ethical issues throughout his time in office, including in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the hospitality industry struggles, the Trump Organization has sought relief from both the federal government and from the British and Irish governments the latter for employees wages at the companys golf courses overseas. In particular, the Trump Organization sought a break on rental payments for the Washington, DC Trump Hotel from the General Services Administration, the federal agency with which the Trump Organization has a lease for the hotel. This puts the federal agency in a bind: denying the request could invoke the ire of the president, who appoints its leader, while accommodating the request would raise concerns that the decision was motivated by the presidents financial interests.
President Trump has also demanded that Congress include money for a new downtown FBI headquarters in a coronavirus relief bill. By ensuring the FBI does not move to a suburban campus instead, the measure would protect the Trump Hotel from possible competition from a proposed new hotel on the site of the FBI building a longstanding concern of the president.
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Emergency Funds Are Drying Up
Along with the missing response team, there is also the lack of a budget to contend with.
The Department of Health and Human Services has already notified Congress that it may need to transfer up to $136 million in funds to help combat the fast-moving epidemic.
This is partially because the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has already gone through the $105 million that was set aside for emergency public-health responses for infectious disease outbreaks.
Hawaii Lt. Gov Josh Green voiced concerns about the White Houses gameplan to tackle the Coronavirus issue.
The way this was rolled out is concerning. This is not the kind of thing you want to do on the fly because it creates chaos.
The History And Evolution Of The Governments Watchdogs
In the long shadow of Watergate, Congress took historic steps to ensure accountability and transparency in government. One of those actions was the passage of the Inspector General Act of 1978, which created 12 original IGs tasked with rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse at government agencies and conducting independent investigations and audits. In signing the law, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter described the newly established IGs as perhaps the most important new tools in the fight against fraud and charged them with remembering that their ultimate responsibility is not to any individual but to the public interest.
At a time when many Americans have been inundated with stories about scandal and ethical lapses, the IGs are an oft-overlooked executive branch backstopinsulated from the direct authority of the president other than through the power of removal. It is thus troubling that the Trump administrations battle with government accountability has now turned to target the IGs.
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Censoring Undermining And Attacking Leading Government Scientists
The Trump administration has repeatedly censored and attacked preeminent government scientists, whose research and analysis would normally be leading the national response to a public health crisis like Covid-19.
The administration has implemented new policies to block government scientists from communicating with the public. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped holding media briefings and instituted a restrictive media policy for agency scientists receiving inquiries for information about Covid-19 even though these scientists have traditionally been allowed to speak to the press. The Trump administration also prevented National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and other senior health officials from communicating with the public, instead requiring that all communications be controlled by Vice President Mike Pence . A top political aide at the Department of Health and Human Services instructed Dr. Faucis press team that Fauci was to refrain from advising that children wear masks. The White House also prevented Fauci from testifying before the House of Representatives, because the chamber was full of Trump haters. He blocked other experts from testifying before Congress at all, including the CDC director, who was invited to testify about how to reopen schools safely.
Trump Fired The Pandemic Response Team
Screenshot / YouTube.
In 2018, the governments entire pandemic response chain of command was let go.
Trump shut down the global health security unit within the NSC, and the DHS epidemic team was also pushed out. No one was ever replaced.
This fact caused a ripple effect of panic in many federal and state programs while the news spread of the Coronavirus in China. If the virus was to spread in the U.S., there is no playbook on how to respond.
Why did Trump decide the pandemic response team was dispensable? Simple. It was another part of Obamas legacy that he felt the need to destroy.
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Four Ways Trump Has Meddled In Pandemic Science And Why It Matters
Trump and his administration have sidelined scientists like Anthony Fauci throughout the pandemic when the scientists’ messaging did not align with political agendas.Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty
As the United States votes today on who will be its next president, Donald Trumps response to the COVID-19 pandemic looms large. One issue that resonates with the research community is the extent to which the current president and his administration have meddled with science and scientific advice during the pandemic often with disastrous results.
Last month, a coronavirus-crisis sub-committee within the US House of Representatives released a report documenting 47 instances in which government scientists had been sidelined or their recommendations altered. And the report notes that the frequency of meddling has been increasing in the lead-up to the US election.
Its hard to express how unbelievably demoralizing this experience has been, says Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a non-profit organization in Washington DC.
If Trump wins a second term, researchers fear what that could mean for public health and the scientific enterprise. If Democratic challenger and former vice-president Joe Biden wins, hell have his work cut out for him to restore the reputation of the US science agencies that Trump has damaged.
Claim No : The Trump Administration Cut Funding To Anti
Following criticism surrounding the United States response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump came under fire for allegedly firing the United States of Americas pandemic response team.
The claim was populated by Popular Informations Judd Legum, who tweeted that Trump fired the entire pandemic response team before failing to replace them. The tweet, accompanied by a chart illustrating the increasing statewide presence of coronavirus COVID-19, continued by claiming Trump went so far as to eliminate the positions.
But how much of Legums tweet is true?
In 2018, then-Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biothreats Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer abruptly departed the National Security Council. In an attempt to reorganize for the sake of streamlining, John Bolton abolished Ziemers abandoned position and dissolved his team.
One month earlier, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert, who the Washington Post reported called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks, resigned from his position as Bolton prepared to assume power. However, NBC News later reported that Bossert was fired.
Former Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense in NSC Beth Cameron indirectly reinforced Legums stance.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Cameron wrote that the White House dissolved the office, subsequently leaving the United States underprepared for the emergence of a pandemic.
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More: Coronavirus Government Response Updates: Drama As House Votes On $2t Relief Package
In a statement reacting to Atkinson’s firing, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz released a statement that paired a defense of Atkinson’s tenure with a pledge for “aggressive” oversight of the coronavirus stimulus program.
“The Inspector General Community will continue to conduct aggressive, independent oversight of the agencies that we oversee,” Horowitz said. “This includes CIGIEs Pandemic Response Accountability Committee and its efforts on behalf of American taxpayers, families, businesses, patients, and health care providers to ensure that over $2 trillion dollars in emergency federal spending is being used consistently with the laws mandate.
Additionally, last week the president attacked Pelosi for her plans to set up a select committee in the House to monitor coronavirus spending, accusing her of trying to stage witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt.
In his signing statement for the CARES Act, Trump said he wouldnt allow the special inspector general to share information with Congress without presidential supervision.