Caught: News organizations fact-check, label as lies Democrat claims Trump cut pandemic funding
In what should be a surprise to no one, an Associated Press fact check confirms this week: that Democrat presidential candidates are falsely claiming that President Donald Trump cut funding and personnel needed to fight coronavirus.
Claims by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg during the Democrat debate in South Carolina were labeled Wednesday by conservative news outlet Breitbart as "mostly false." Bloomberg claimed that Trump had “fired” a pandemic specialist at the White House, and “defunded” the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Bloomberg's implication: Trump was to blame for the spread of coronavirus — even though there have been just over a dozen cases and no fatalities in the U.S.
Here is the truth, as confirmed by ACV Reports: The pandemic specialist had left voluntarily during a reorganization of the bloated National Security Council (NSC), and the CDC cuts — as the agency wound down its Ebola response — were only proposed, not enacted.
The Associated Press, which has criticized President Trump in the past, confirmed Thursday, in an article titled “AP FACT CHECK: Democrats distort coronavirus readiness,” that much of what Democrats are saying about Trump’s response to the coronavirus challenge is simply not true.
Democratic presidential contenders, as well as the House and Senate Democrat leadership and the Leftist alphabet media, are describing the federal infectious-disease bureaucracy as rudderless and ill-prepared for the coronavirus threat., All are claiming this is due to budget cuts and ham-handed leadership by President Donald Trump.
That is at best a distorted picture and, at worst, patently false. For starters, while the president suggested budgets cuts, his trusted advisors presented a case to him that it would not be prudent at this time.
Twice since he was elected in 2016, Trump has proposed cuts but Congress ignored him and increased financing instead. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect.
One of those proposed cuts was the CDC's Ebola Response program after the disease subsided in Africa the year before. Even then, however, the White House decided to adopt a "wait and see" attitude and dropped plans to cut the program back. It was cut by about 80 percent last year after a brief flare-up of Ebola quickly faded.
Some public health experts say a bigger concern than White House budgets is the steady erosion of a CDC grant program for state and local public health emergency preparedness — the front lines in detecting and battling new disease. But that decline was set in motion by a congressional budget measure that dates back to the Obama Administration.
“The CDC’s response has been excellent, as it has been in the past,” said John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health, which works with government at all levels to improve the nation’s response to high-risk health crises. Some Democrats have charged that Trump decimated the nation’s public health leadership, but Auerbach said CDC’s top scientific ranks have remained stable during the past three years.
The changes in the Trump administration — the restructuring and the proposed CDC cuts — were overdue, as the Ebola crisis had faded. It was bad luck that a new public health crisis emerged at that precise moment.
But it was also fortunate that President Trump departed from protocol in one important way, widely criticized at the time: by shutting down travel from China, something the AP says is not typically done, he likely prevented a larger outbreak and bought the government precious time to prepare a response and educate the public.