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Politics The White House planted 2 political operatives in the CDC to keep tabs on director Robert Redfield and his scientists, report says

14:27  16 october  2020
14:27  16 october  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

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The White House is blocking US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing on reopening schools next week

" CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has been determined to have had a low risk exposure on May 6 to a She is known to often be in the White House coronavirus task force meetings. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to confirm the report that Redfield will self-quarantine

Donald Trump, Robert R. Redfield are posing for a picture: CDC Director Robert Redfield speaks, with President Donald Trump in the background, during a White House coronavirus task force briefing on April 22, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty Images © Drew Angerer/Getty Images CDC Director Robert Redfield speaks, with President Donald Trump in the background, during a White House coronavirus task force briefing on April 22, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • The White House positioned two political operatives at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June, the Associated Press reported.
  • The first, Nina Witkofsky was appointed as senior advisor to CDC Director Robert Redfield and promoted to acting chief of staff within weeks. The second, Chester Moeller, is her deputy.
  • A White House official told the AP the pair were placed there to control the agency's messaging because leaks were "upsetting the apple cart."
  • Their remit included keeping watch on Redfield and the agency's scientists, CDC officials told the AP.
  • The news is the latest in a series of moves that show how the White House has sought to control the CDC, and prevent it from influencing the government's reaction to the pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The White House planted two political officials with no public health experience at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep tabs on the agency and its scientists, according to The Associated Press.

White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info

  White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info NEW YORK (AP) — The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence. The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr.

Dr. Robert Redfield , director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the 50 In the meantime, Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for the task force, said Redfield was referring to a Harvard scientists , who are modeling the pandemic, also advised the White House on what the

Birx and Redfield have known each other for decades, due to their work on HIV research together. And while Birx defended Redfield to their peers earlier There has also been significant tension between the White House and CDC over guidelines on how to reopen the country. Last week, Redfield was

Nina Witkofsky was appointed as senior advisor to CDC Director Robert Redfield at the agency's Atlanta headquarters in June and within weeks had been promoted to CDC acting chief of staff.

The second political arrival, Chester "Trey" Moeller, is Witkofsky's deputy.

Witkofsky, the AP said, played a small role in Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. Her CDC profile also says she has worked in governmental affairs for 20 years, including at the State Department.

A White House official told the AP that the pair were placed at the CDC to control its messaging because leaks were "upsetting the apple cart."

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The decision to bypass CDC had an immediate effect. A webpage that tracked the number of COVID patients in the nation's hospital beds ceased. It is run by the CDC . In a call with reporters Wednesday, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said the agency has agreed to remove the NHSN

Two federal health officials said the shift came as a directive to the Atlanta-based C.D.C. from higher-ups in Washington at the White House and Brett P. Giroir, the administration’s coronavirus testing czar, called it a “C.D.C. action,” written with input from the agency’s director , Dr. Robert R. Redfield .

Their remit included keeping watch on Redfield and the agency's scientists, CDC officials told the AP.

CDC staff had little warning that the pair were joining, an agency source told the AP, adding that no one knew their job titles and that they didn't have assigned offices. "They just showed up on a Monday," the official said.

Robert R. Redfield wearing a suit and tie: Redfield testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty © ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Redfield testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty

The CDC has had a fractious relationship with the White House throughout the pandemic, and has itself made several missteps that damaged its credibility.

The CDC first drew the wrath of the White House on February 21 when Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official, warned publicly that the outbreak was getting worse.

At the time the White House was trying to play down the threat, and Trump reportedly called Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar and said he wanted Messonnier to be sacked.

Former CDC director urges Redfield to expose Trump coronavirus mishandling

  Former CDC director urges Redfield to expose Trump coronavirus mishandling The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implored the agency's current leader to expose what he says is President Trump's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic."I start each day thinking about the terrible burden you bear," Dr. William Foege, the CDC's former director wrote to current head Dr. Robert Redfield in a Sept. 23 letter obtained by USA Today. "Don't shy away from the fact this has been an unacceptable toll on our country ... it is a slaughter and not just a political dispute." require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Dr. Robert Redfield , director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Laurie Garrett is a former senior fellow for global health at the Council on His salary offer was legally permitted under Title 42 -- meant to help attract top-flight scientists who might not otherwise be interested in the job.

The CDC silently updated their numbers this week to show that only 6% of all coronavirus deaths were completely due to the coronavirus alone. The rest of the deaths pinned to the China coronavirus are attributed to individuals who had other serious issues going on. Also, most of the deaths are very old

Since that time the CDC and White House have clashed several times and a number of damning reports have detailed how the White House has ignored CDC scientific advice.

  • The CDC was criticized in January for sending teams to airports to scan arriving passengers for symptoms, when they knew that many asymptomatic cases would slip through.
  • The agency again came under fire in February after its first attempt to develop a test for COVID-19 went badly wrong. Batches of tests were sent out to public-health labs, but they didn't work. According to ProPublica, it took three weeks to solve the issue.
  • In April, the White House ignored a 63-page CDC report on how the US should end its lockdown. The White House coronavirus task force called the plan "overly specific."
  • As part of the report, the CDC had chosen not to include edits made by the White House task force to a section on the reopening of religious buildings made by the White House task force. ProPublica reported that the move prompted a "furious call" from Vice President Mike Pence's office, in which the CDC was told that the White House's edits were mandatory and that its omission amounted to insubordination.
  • In July, after the CDC published its guidance for reopening schools, Trump tweeted: "I disagree with CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools."
  • The CDC was also criticized on August 24 after it published a guidance discouraging people from getting COVID-19 tests. The New York Times later reported that that it was instead drafted and published by Trump officials despite objections from CDC scientists.
  • In September, the White House reportedly blocked the CDC from imposing an order that would require all passengers to wear masks on public transport.
  • On September 25, Politico reported that the Trump administration had taken $300 million in CDC funding and used the money to make a series of advertisements to "defeat despair" around COVID-19.
  • On September 29, Pence reportedly stopped the CDC from extending a ban on cruise-ship journeys to 2021.

"It's mind-boggling in the totality of ambition to so deeply undermine what's so vitally important to the public," a CDC scientist told ProPublica of the Trump administration's approach to the agency during the pandemic.

The scientist also said the administration was "appropriating a public enterprise and making it into an agent of propaganda for a political regime."

On September 23, Dr. William Foege, a former CDC director, wrote to Redfield to tell him that the agency's reputation had gone "from gold to tarnished brass" and that he should call out the White House for its skulduggery.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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