Trump’s HHS changed CDC documents for political reasons, official says

A senior administration official said that due to tensions between the administration and the CDC between former Trump campaign official HHS spokesman Michael Capto and his team, he demanded to see the report from the CDC before its release. HHS officials defended the demand, saying the CDC was under the agency’s umbrella and that all communications and public documents at the top needed to be cleared.

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing the reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input – often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature – to the weekly coronar virus epidemic response. For weekly scientific reports intended to track. The development is the latest example of political interference of administration appointments in the nation’s health agencies.

The source said some of the CDC’s federal health officials believe the intervention is an effort by CDC scientists to change communications so that the president is not opposed. Since the onset of the epidemic, Trump has reiterated the importance of the virus, sometimes unlike doctors on his own White House task force.

In a statement to CNN, Caputo defended the action and praised Alexander.

“Dr. Alexander is an Oxford educated epidemiologist and a methodologist who specializes in analyzing the work of other scientists. Dr. Alexander advises me on epidemics policy and has been encouraged to share my opinions with other scientists, “The statement read. “Like all scientists, their advice is heard and taken or rejected by their peers.”

Caputo emphasized to the CDC even more, “Our aim is to ensure that evidence, science-based data drives policy through this epidemic – not the inverted deep state intentions of the CDC.”

Trump loyalists and administration officials have expressed disappointment over the CDC, which is largely made up of career and not political staff, who they believe are not acting in the best interests of the president.

CNN has reached out to the CDC for comment. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has defended the agency in the past and denied officials there that politics is ahead of science.

A federal health official who spoke to CNN said that this summer, HHS has attempted to close all of the CDC’s morbidity and mortality weekly reports, some of which focus on the latest information on coronaviruses. .

Sources could not provide any details on what language was changed in these reports by the Trump administration.