Desperate To Help Trump’s Campaign:
- The Trump administration continues to politicize its response to COVID-19 to boost the President’s reelection prospects.
- On Monday, experts warned TPM about the “disastrous” effects of political officials pressuring the CDC to manipulate the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a key tool that tracks the spread of the virus.
- On another front, the Trump administration doubled down on its pre-election timetable for a COVID-19 vaccine — which scientists agree is a wildly optimistic deadline.
- Even Trump’s CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, contradicted Trump on his vaccine timeline, which apparently earned him a salty call from the President.
- White House chief of staff Mark Meadows continued throwing Redfield under the bus on Thursday, claiming that the top health official wasn’t close enough to the vaccine process to know the specifics.
- The New York Times reported Thursday evening that the CDC posted controversial COVID-19 testing guidance on asymptomatic people against the agency’s own health officials.
- After the exposé, the CDC reversed course on the testing guidance and now says asymptomatic people exposed to COVID should be tested for the virus.
- Michael Caputo’s short-lived but controversial tenure as HHS spokesman came to an abrupt halt this week.
- Caputo’s downfall began last weekend, when he went on a Facebook rant claiming that “seditious” scientists at the CDC were working to undermine Trump.
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Health Committee, called for Caputo to step down after his screed surfaced.
- Caputo blamed his erratic behavior on a combination of personal medical issues and purported death threats against his family, acknowledging that his comments did not reflect well on HHS.
- On Wednesday, HHS announced Caputo was taking a 60-day leave of absence “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” He insists he’ll be back in action.
Dam Breaks On Anti-Trumpers
- This week saw another wave of former Trump administration officials coming out against the President. On Thursday afternoon, a former staffer for Vice President Mike Pence starred in a new anti-Trump video excoriating the administration’s COVID-19 response.
- Olivia Troye, who was part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that Trump at one point expressed his happiness that he would no longer be forced to shake the hands of his “disgusting” (in the President’s words) supporters. Troye also announced that she was throwing her support behind Biden.
- In an interview with the New Yorker, Troye said the political pressure being applied to the development of a COVID vaccine was just one of the reasons she had decided to speak out.
- She wasn’t the only ex-administration official to publicly rebuke the Trump government this week. Josh Venable, former chief of staff to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, joined the anti-Trump group Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform as an adviser.
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