I'm so old, I remember saying Trump was clearly targeting Democratic areas in his lack of covid response and being accused by commenters of being a conspiracy theorist. Ha, ha!
Of course, many of you already knew the covid response was politicized. But the House Oversight committee's report matters, because as the documentation piles up, the media is forced into finally admitting just how much perfidy they ignored.
"Released just moments ago, a House Oversight Committee report claims Trump administration officials made, quote, 'deliberate efforts to undermine the nation's coronavirus response for political purposes.' CNN's Sunlen Serfaty just got her hands on this report. Sunlen, I know you're pouring through it now. Give us the top lines you've seen so far," CNN's John Berman said.
"This is very damning report of how the Trump administration handled their covid response," Serfaty said.
"This is a report from the House Oversight Committee, they conducted months and months of interviews with former Trump administration officials who were there during the pandemic response. and this report out of the committee concludes that, quote, 'Trump administration officials engaged in a staggering pattern of political interference in the pandemic response and failed to heed early warnings about the looming crisis. These decisions placed countless Americans' lives at risk, undermined the nation's public health institutions and contributed to one of the worst failures of leadership in American history.'
"And the report cites, according to the committee, many powerful anecdotes that they say they gathered over the course of the administration's response, including Trump administration officials they say blocking numerous officials from speaking publicly about the state of the pandemic. In one case, the report cites that Trump was so angered by a briefing that he blocked CDC officials from briefing the public for three months.
"Another anecdote, again, the committee states in this report, said another official wanted to hold a briefing about recommendations to wear face masks and also brief about the status of deaths and cases among pediatric cases, and that Trump specifically blocked that request. This report also really does shine a light on the agony that many of these Trump officials were facing, they were concerned and frustrated on the directive they were receiving. Dr. Jay Butler, then deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC, he says that he was directed in May 2020 to put an updated guidance about faith community and he says, according to the committee, he told the committee, quote, 'I was doing a lot of soul searching about whether or not I should have even agreed to make changes in the document. It was a directive, but that was a real struggle as I felt like what had been done was not good public health practice.'
"And in another case, Dr. Debbie Birx, the head of the covid response force, she said that she specifically wanted to sit out a meeting at the White House because she said that there were fringe doctors included in that meeting lineup. So all of this, again, painting a very concerning picture of what was going on in the early days of the pandemic. Now, notably, CNN has of course reached out to the parties that were named in this committee document, and we have not yet independently confirmed these allegations."
They call them "anecdotes." I call it "testimony."