Communications aides within Donald Trump’s administration allegedly changed reports from scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention so they would better align with the president’s message that the coronavirus was under control. As Politico reported, one official said that the alterations were made in order to combat the “ulterior deep state motives in the bowels” of the CDC.
Michael Caputo, who used to work for the Trump campaign and now acts as the assistant secretary for public affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly requested the ability to review reports from CDC experts before they were released to the public. In several instances, he and his deputies reportedly altered the documents to downplay the severity of COVID-19. Apparently, they also tried to delay or stop the release of some reports altogether.
“Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science-based data drives policy through this pandemic—not ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of CDC,” Caputo said.
Experts tried to fight back against the attempts to alter or halt the documents but have recently given over to the Trump team’s efforts, the outlet wrote.
In early August, Caputo and his deputies attacked CDC Director Robert Redfield, accusing the organization of attempting to harm Trump.
“CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration,” deputy Paul Alexander wrote. “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening… Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear.”
Alexander told Redfield to modify to already-published findings to reflect the idea that it was safe to open schools. Caputo defended his employee, saying that he was an Oxford-educated epidemiologist who specializes in reviewing the work of his peers.
“Dr. Alexander advises me on pandemic policy and he has been encouraged to share his opinions with other scientists. Like all scientists, his advice is heard and taken or rejected by his peers,” Caputo said.
Caputo’s team also reportedly tried to silence Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the top epidemiologists in the country, back in July when he contradicted the message that the novel coronavirus wasn’t dangerous to children. Fauci has frequently pushed back on messages from the administration that he feels are inaccurate, including a recent statement from Trump that the U.S. is reaching the final stretch of the pandemic, as The Inquisitr previously reported.
Caputo defended his and his team’s actions, saying that while the CDC has done some good work, there appear to be studies that were crafted with the intention of undermining Trump’s ability to convey his message about the virus to the public.