Trump, Still Hoping to Slash CDC Funds, Blames CDC for Coronavirus Fiasco

He also repeated his lie about Obama and the swine flu.

Al Drago/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention became the latest target of President Donald Trump’s attempts to deflect blame for what is being roundly condemned as a disastrous response by his administration to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump claimed, without evidence, on Friday that the federal agency had for decades sat idle on efforts to build an adequate testing system—a situation he blamed former President Barack Obama for supposedly exacerbating. Trump’s latest twitter fusillade comes despite the fact that his administration has directly controlled the CDC for more than three years. The president then repeated the lie that his predecessor failed to act on the H1N1 outbreak—commonly known as the swine flu—until thousands had already died.

The truth: The Obama administration acted months before the World Health Organization declared the swine flu a pandemic. On April 26, 2009—with only 20 confirmed cases of the disease and no deaths in the US—Obama’s Health and Human Services chief declared it a public health emergency. “The emergency declaration in the United States lets the government free more money for antiviral drugs and give some previously unapproved tests and drugs to children,” the New York Times reported at the time. “One-quarter of the national stockpile of 50 million courses of antiflu drugs will be released.”

In October of that year, Obama declared it a national emergency—in addition to his earlier designation of a public health emergency—in order to allow the US to greenlight plans that included creating offsite emergency rooms.

Trump now appears to be deliberately distorting the timeline in order to escape the current criticism, adding to an already inflammatory track record of misinformation around the virus. His newest attack against the CDC comes as his administration refuses to drop its plans to slash the agency’s funding, even with the current coronavirus pandemic.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate