Trump administration interfered with federal response to COVID-19: congressional report

Then U.S. President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn heading for the Marine One departing from the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 29, 2018. Photo by Xinhua/Ting Shen

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. congressional panel released a new report on Monday detailing efforts by the Trump administration to politicize federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis accused the White House under Donald Trump of undermining "public health to benefit the former president's political goals."

Trump and his top aides repeatedly attacked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) scientists, compromised the agency's public health guidance, and suppressed scientific reports in an effort to downplay the seriousness of the coronavirus, Congressman James Clyburn, chair of the panel, said in a statement.

"This prioritization of politics, contempt for science, and refusal to follow the advice of public health experts harmed the nation's ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus crisis and put Americans at risk," Clyburn alleged.

The investigation uncovered that Trump's appointees sought to influence CDC's scientific reports -- attempting to change the publication process, manipulate the content, or block the dissemination of at least 19 different reports that they deemed to be politically harmful to the administration.

The subcommittee has been investigating the Trump administration's "political interference" across the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic since June 2020.

The United States has reported nearly 97 million COVID-19 cases and more than 1 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC said a new COVID variant dubbed BQ.1 and a descendant called BQ.1.1 have gained traction in the United States, accounting for 11.4 percent of new cases across the country in the week ending Oct. 15.

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