Trump Ignores Experts, Had A Dog Breeder Initially Lead Coronavirus Task Force

“Only in the Trump administration could a dog breeder find himself leading a pandemic containment strategy,” said DNC Deputy War Room Director Daniel Wessel. “It would be laughable if not for the tens of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives and the tens of millions who are out of work.”

Instead of a public health expert, the Trump administration appointed a former dog breeder to run the day-to-day coronavirus response in January and February. It’s no wonder the U.S. fell behind other countries in testing during that time.

Reuters: “Shortly after his televised comments, Azar tapped a trusted aide with minimal public health experience to lead the agency’s day-to-day response to COVID-19. The aide, Brian Harrison, had joined the department after running a dog-breeding business for six years.”

Trump removed the expert in charge of developing a coronavirus vaccine because, unlike Trump, he wanted to properly vet coronavirus treatments.

New York Times: “The doctor who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration has put ‘politics and cronyism ahead of science.’”

Trump threatened to remove a respiratory disease expert at the CDC for telling the truth about the coronavirus threat.

Wall Street Journal: “On Feb. 25, Nancy Messonnier, a CDC official, said the agency was preparing for a potential pandemic and that community spread of the virus was likely. The stock market plunged. At a media briefing later that day, Mr. Azar sought to quell concerns, saying the virus was ‘contained.’ But it was too late. A furious Mr. Trump, flying back to Washington from India, called Mr. Azar and threatened to oust Dr. Messonnier.”

Trump tried to force the CDC director to walk back comments he disagreed with, only to be contradicted by the public health experts on his task force.

CNN: “In another bizarre twist, Trump produced Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to walk back his remarks that the coronavirus challenge could be more difficult in the fall. Trump claimed that Redfield had been ‘totally misquoted’ by the media. But under questioning from reporters, Redfield confirmed that he had in fact made the remarks that angered Trump.”

New York Times: “The scientists flanking him at a White House briefing explicitly said otherwise… When pressed by reporters, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, did not directly support the president’s assertion. But Dr. Fauci, another leading scientific voice for the administration, supported Dr. Redfield’s assertion that the virus would be here in the fall.”

Trump has repeatedly ignored experts and even punished those who disagree with his non-expert opinion.

Washington Post: “The remarkable spectacle provided another illustration of the president’s tenuous relationship with his own administration’s scientific and public health experts, where the unofficial message from the Oval Office is an unmistakable warning: Those who challenge the president’s erratic and often inaccurate coronavirus views will be punished — or made to atone.”