The Trump administration has finally figured out who to blame for the coronavirus pandemic and it is ... the CDC. Damn you, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention!

Politico reports that the White House is mulling a new plan to scapegoat the CDC for the Trump administration's abject failure to protect Americans from COVID-19. Astute observers may note that Trump has shit all over the public health agency every time it tried to actually do anything about the pandemic.

Back in February, Trump freaked out about the stock market after Dr. Nancy Messonier, the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said "It's not a question of if but rather a question of when and how many people in this country will have severe illness." Which was true, but such a fuckin' downer, right?

On multiple occasions, the White House throttled public health advice coming out of the agency because it was "too prescriptive" for noted scientist Mark Meadows' tastes, even memory holing recommendations for safe religious services because it conflicted with the Justice Department's plan to pretend blue state governors were harassing Christians.

Not to mention turning masks into yet another front in the culture war so that Red State Murikans refused to do the one thing that might allow the country to re-open safely. How many people got sick because Donald Trump refused to smudge his orange foundation with a mask, so the dutiful lackeys in Trumpmedia spent months broadcasting nonsense about the dangers of "breathing in your own carbon diooxide" and encouraging viewers to pretend to be disabled and unable to wear a mask?

But anyway, tell us more about how it's all the CDC's fault that 120,000 Americans are dead.

Politically, Trump aides have also been looking for a person or entity outside of China to blame for the coronavirus response and have grown furious with the CDC, its public health guidance and its actions on testing, making it a prime target. But some wonder whether the wonky-sounding CDC, which the administration directly oversees, could be an effective fall guy on top of Trump's efforts to blame the World Health Organization.

"WHO is an easy one," said one former administration official. "It is foreign body in Switzerland. CDC will be tough to create a bogeyman around for the average voter."

So the one agency in the government that actually had A PLAN to deal with coronavirus will be scapegoated for interfering with the president's NO PLAN. Cool, cool.

Sources told Politico that the administration intends to overhaul the CDC to make it "nimble and more responsive" by "narrowing the mission of the agency or trying to embed more political appointees within it" and get rid of all those grody "government career officials who do not respect or follow the Trump agenda." Which sounds an awful lot like sticking more of Jared's B-school pals in there to MBAsplain public health to the IRL professionals while a bunch of 24-year-olds from Turning Points USA crack the whip on anyone who doesn't have a MAGA bumper sticker on their car. And indeed, the White House has proposed a 19 percent cut to the CDC's budget for 2021, because sure, why not.

What the CDC really needs, though, is some MAGA number crunchers to get those COVID stats down. Sure it looks like 120,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, but when you zoom in, it's clear that they've all been shot. Or something?

"In Pennsylvania, if you have coronavirus and you die from a gunshot wound, it gets classified as a coronavirus death," one administration official told Politico. "If the data drives the decision making, you want to make sure you have good data. When you have different ways of counting things, it can lead to distortion. The audit [of CDC] was suggested as means to confirm that or disprove that."

Ummm, okay.

Meanwhile, Arizona is reporting 2,196 new cases yesterday and just three deaths. Florida posted an additional 2,926 cases, with just 12 deaths. Sure, Jan.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gotten caught multiple times trying to edit death tallies from county health departments, going so far as to claim that releasing the data is a violation of patient privacy, and yesterday Florida's surgeon general ordered hospitals to stop reporting the number of patients in intensive care units, and instead report just those patients receiving "intensive level of care." Which is a helpful fudge if you're in the middle of a coronavirus spike and trying to kill stories about an impending shortage of ICU beds. But anyway, lookit those ridiculous Democratic governors counting gunshot deaths as COVID-19!

Clearly numbers and those egghead scientists at the CDC are the real enemy here. (Also China, the WHO, Europe, NATO, Emmanuel Macron ...)

Too many tests! That's why Donald Trump is headed to an indoor rally with thousands of people tomorrow in Arizona, a state which just scored a seven-day positive test rate of more than 20 percent. Because tests don't matter! Especially when you have magical Jesus air fresheners.

This is fine. Really.


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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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