Header Ads

CDC head Dr. Robert Redfield blasts 'offensive' attacks by Trump ally who went on 60-day medical leave after saying there was a 'deep state' operating inside the public health agency

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Dr. Robert Redfield said at a hearing Wednesday he was 'disappointed' at 'offensive' criticism of his agency over its coronavirus response by an ally of President Donald Trump who went on leave following a Facebook rant about the 'deep state.'

Redfield's remarks at a Senate hearing represent some of his strongest public reaction against efforts by members of the Trump administration to undermine and sideline CDC's globally-esteemed scientists.

The hearing comes as Trump has repeatedly touted the possibility that a vaccine will receive approval before the November 3 election, raising fears that the approval decision could be influenced by politics.

'I want to add how disappointed I have been personally when people at HHS (Health and Human Services) made comments that they felt that there was a 'deep state' down at CDC,' Redfield said.

CDC director Robert Redfield's remarks at a Senate hearing represent some of his strongest public reaction against efforts by members of the Trump administration to undermine and sideline his agency's globally-esteemed scientists

CDC director Robert Redfield's remarks at a Senate hearing represent some of his strongest public reaction against efforts by members of the Trump administration to undermine and sideline his agency's globally-esteemed scientists

Michael Caputo says Dems want America sick until November election
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time3:10
Fullscreen
Need Text

'These are dedicated men and women that are confronting the greatest public health crisis of our time, working 24/7, over 6700 of them involved in the outbreak itself, 1200 deploying, and it's offensive to me when I hear this type of comment.'

He added that during his 20-year career in the military, he was never aware of his colleagues' political affiliations and the same was true of the CDC.

'People don't understand the ability to suck energy out of people that are working 24/7 when they get unfairly criticized or unfairly characterized and really that's the real harm in all of this,' he concluded.   

HHS official Michael Caputo, who previously served on Trump's 2016 election campaign, told Politico earlier this month he saw his role as vital to stymying 'ulterior deep state motives in the bowels' of the CDC.

The Trump loyalist installed at the Health and Human Service Department also told followers to 'buy ammunition.' He took a 60-day leave of absence from his role Wednesday as he escaped being fired for attacking its scientists.

He stepped aside as the video of a bleak rant posted to his followers at the weekend emerged, with him claiming that 'deep state' scientists want Americans to get the deadly coronavirus

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that Caputo was taking the time 'to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.' 

424 PRI*165922580 Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, clashed with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at the hearing

424 PRI*165922580 Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, clashed with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at the hearing

Caputo had claimed he feared for his and his family's safety in the Facebook live video, and suggested that his own mental health was suffering.

Caputo has no medical or scientific qualifications but had worked on Trumps campaign, having previously been a media adviser to Vladimir Putin and an associate of Roger Stone.

Caputo had apologized in an emergency staff meeting Tuesday after the New York Times reported on his Facebook post, where Caputo lashed out at opponents, lamented the state of his own mental health, and told people: 'If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to be hard to get.'

Caputo, who delivered the video message from his home in upstate New York, tells his 5,000 followers: 'I'm under siege. It's been going on for a couple of weeks. And I don't care. BecauseI have the president's support. I know that because he's told me so.'

Communications official for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, lashes out at government scientists in a Facebook rant that has been revealed. Caputo took down the video and apologized to staff, then took a 60-day medical leave of absence

Communications official for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, lashes out at government scientists in a Facebook rant that has been revealed. Caputo took down the video and apologized to staff, then took a 60-day medical leave of absence

'Deep state' refers to the idea put forward by Trump that there are hidden powers within the government trying to undermine him. 

In one of his most slashing attacks, he says: 'The partisan Democrats, the conjugal media and the scientists, the deep state scientists, want America sick through November. They cannot afford for us to have any good news through November, because they're already losing,' he said. 

'There are scientists working for this government who do not want America to get better. Did you hear me? There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well. Not until after Joe Biden is president. It's a fact.'

Caputo later went even further, accusing career government scientists of 'sedition' in his Facebook post. 

Caputo said in a statement that his medical leave would allow him 'to pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week.' 

An entry sign to the Johnson & Johnson campus shows their logo in Irvine, California

An entry sign to the Johnson & Johnson campus shows their logo in Irvine, California


National health experts have expressed worry that the country's health institutions have become increasingly compromised by political pressure, which could end up costing lives.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC are at the center of the storm.

 Amid that backdrop, top officials down the line Wednesday said they would take a vaccine when it became available, as surveys showed national doubts mounting amid fears of politicization.

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday when speaking about vaccine candidates: 'At some time by the end of this year, let’s say November and December we will know whether or not these are safe and effective.' President Trump has repeatedly touted the possibility of one being approved by Election Day.   

The two agencies, historically considered above the partisan fray, have earned the broad respect of the international scientific community.

But their decision-making independence has come under question after several controversial moves over the past few months.

The FDA was particularly criticized for its emergency approval of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19, which was subsequently removed over safety fears.

Guidance on CDC's website meanwhile has been frequently altered for scientifically unclear reasons, such as when it stated that people who are exposed to the virus don't need a test if they do not have symptoms.

The advice was removed last week following an outcry by experts.

Politico found that Caputo had for months been demanding to revise scientific reports on the virus published in the CDC's 'Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports' -- for example on the level of contagiousness among children.

Health officials have recently been engaged in a public relations battle to assure the public that political considerations will play no part in when vaccines receive approval.

Stephen Hahn sought to reassure the Senate on Wednesday, telling lawmakers: 'In the end, FDA will not authorize, or approve a vaccine that we would not feel comfortable giving to our families.

'I will fight for science Mr Chairman, I will fight for the integrity of the agency, and I will put the interest of the American people before anything else.'

The FDA process also received the backing of Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was not appointed by Trump and is widely-respected for his expertise.

On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson announced it was entering the final Phase 3 stage of its Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial following positive results in earlier stages.

The trial will seek to enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across more than 200 sites in the US and around the world.

With the move, J&J becomes the tenth maker globally to conduct a Phase 3 trial against Covid-19, and the fourth in the US.

2 comments: