Trump Admin Pressures CDC to Change COVID-19 Reports & Warns of Armed Insurrection

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In July, which in Quarantine Time was approximately 12 parsecs ago, I told you that it looked like Trump was attempting to hide the true COVID-19 case numbers in the United States by stopping hospitals from reporting their data directly to the CDC. Instead, the administration decided they should only report it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (or HHS). While the CDC makes data public, the HHS is under no mandate to do so.

One thing I didn’t mention in my previous video was that in April Trump appointed Michael Caputo to be the spokesperson for the HHS. Caputo has absolutely no background in healthcare that would remotely qualify him for such a job, but he was involved in Trump’s campaign bid, and he calls Roger Stone his “big brother” and “mentor” (they used to vacation together before Stone was convicted of several felonies), and he’s pals with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen and…well, you get the idea. He’s a buddy of Trump, and that’s good enough.

That’s not to say he didn’t have some strong opinions about healthcare. In since-deleted tweets, he speculated that COVID-19 erupted in China because “millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters.” He also tweeted “#ChineseVirus” 20 times in a row, so that’s fun.

And that’s our official spokesman for the department in charge of the literal health of Americans. Will it now surprise you to learn that Politico discovered that he has spent the past few months intimidating CDC scientists and changing their weekly scientific reports to wording that’s more in line with whatever nonsense Donald Trump has most recently shat out of his mouth?

According to whistleblowers, Caputo and his aides have attempted to bully the CDC into downplaying the risks of COVID-19 and placing the blame for deaths on the victims themselves. They also managed to delay for an ENTIRE MONTH the release of a report that said the risks of hydroxychloroquine outweigh the benefits. They claimed that the report’s author was politically biased. That’s one entire month during which doctors in the United States didn’t have scientifically accurate information from the agency that’s meant to guide how they respond to a pandemic in which nearly 200,000 Americans have died so far. Because a reality TV star learned a 6-syllable medical term and wouldn’t stop saying it, like a toddler.

One aide complained in an email that the CDC was purposely trying to hurt Trump by  saying that “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.” Yeah, I can’t believe the Centers for Disease Control tried to say reopening in-person schooling was going to lead to increased virus spread, when the facts show that one school district in Mississippi reopened only to immediately need to quarantine 120 students and staff. A football coach died. I mean, but how could we have known? It’s not like Israel had nearly beaten the virus when they reopened schools in May, which led to tens of thousands of students needing to go back into lockdown as hundreds of students and staff were infected. Very misleading. Shame on them.

These bombshells didn’t seem to get Caputo down at all, since just a few days after Politico released their report, he hopped on Facebook Live to not only reiterate his fantasy that, and I quote, “deep in the bowels of the C.D.C. have given up science and become political animals.” But it got even crazier when he insisted that liberals in general were forming an armed resistance that would enact violence after the election. Allow me to quote from the NY Times:

“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” he said, describing “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.” He then ran through a series of conspiracy theories, culminating in a prediction that Mr. Trump will win re-election but his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will refuse to concede.

“And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.” He added: “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”

Yikes. YIKES. Like, I know, the inmates are running the asylum. But holy shit, the inmates are running the asylum. This man is the SPOKESMAN for a $1.286 trillion federal agency. And he is INSANE. I know, it’s very problematic to assign mental health issues to someone because not everyone with mental health issues destroys scientific inquiry from inside the government, but either he thinks liberals are planning an armed insurrection or he wants conservatives to believe that, and neither of those options are the product of a balanced brain.

I cannot stress this enough: vote. Sign up for mail-in voting if it’s available in your area. Vote as early as legally possible. And vote blue. I know, as I’ve talked about in the past Joe Biden is not my candidate. I can’t stand him and his conservative policies, and I understand if you can’t bring yourself to vote for him if you are at all affected by, for instance, our broken healthcare system or the treatment of women and girls in the United States. But we must stop Trump at all costs. If you can hold your nose long enough to vote for him, please do it. We need these people out. We need people who trust basic science back in.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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