Trump administration accused of practicing censorship on Covid-19

The management of the coronavirus pandemic by the White House, during the mandate of Donald Trump, is once again singled out. A parliamentary report, published on Monday, claims that members of the former president’s team prevented health officials from providing certain information on the Covid-19, in order to go in the direction of the optimistic vision of Donald Trump.

Senior officials from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the United States’ main federal health agency, have told investigators that members of the Trump administration intimidated staff and tried to rewrite their reports in order to align them with the statements of the president, who minimized the health crisis. Republicans rejected the report’s findings, calling it partisan, and vowed to conduct their own investigation if they win back a majority in any house of Congress in November’s election.

An “unprecedented” campaign of political interference

Investigators interviewed a dozen former and current CDC officials, as well as senior government officials, for this 91-page report released by a congressional committee looking into the Covid-19 crisis. In it, the parliamentary panel describes how officials from the Department of Health, appointed by Donald Trump, tried to take control of the CDC’s weekly scientific journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportby editing or censoring articles they considered harmful to the Republican president.

These officials have sought to “alter the content, contradict or delay the publication” of 18 of these weekly reports, as well as a health alert, and this has been successful on five occasions, according to the parliamentary report. The commission’s investigation “showed that the previous administration embarked on an unprecedented campaign of political interference in the federal government’s response to the pandemic, which undermined public health in favor of the political goals of the former president,” said the chairman of the commission, the elected Democrat Jim Clyburn.

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Previous reports have already highlighted attempts by the Trump administration to censor senior health officials or to pressure the United States Medicines Agency to reissue emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine. This anti-malaria drug was touted by Donald Trump as a cure for Covid-19, despite evidence to the contrary.

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