Are concerns expressed by Rush Limbaugh and others that workers in the federal bureaucracy may try to politicize the response to the coronavirus as a weapon against President Trump’s reelection that far fetched? Workers in many federal government departments and agencies have tried since his election to sabotage Trump from within, proudly calling themselves part of the Resistance.
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CDC headquarters in Atlanta, photo by U.S. government.
On Tuesday while Trump was wrapping up a state visit to India, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, gave an alarmist briefing to reporters that ran counter to Trump’s efforts to calm the public and markets. While some, including TGP’s Joe Hoft, have noted Messonnier is the sister of controversial former Trump Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, suggesting that relationship may have been behind the alarmist briefing, Trump himself has said he does not believe the CDC is trying to hurt him.
However, a November 9, 2016 report by NPR station WABE-FM in Atlanta where the CDC is headquartered headlined an article on CDC employees’ reaction to Trump’s victory: “Atlanta CDC Employees Express Anxiety Over Trump’s Win”.
The WABE article details a somber, depressing, tearful, binge eating reaction by CDC staff:
Employees at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the mood in their office is somber.
The employees of one of the largest federal agencies in Atlanta said they’re concerned about job safety, funding and new public health policies under Donald Trump’s presidency.
At the General Muir deli across the street from the CDC, a few employees talked to WABE, asking that their names not be used. One microbiologist said her colleagues were crying in the hallways.
“It’s really sad,” she said. “It’s depressing. I’m eating a bagel to try and be happy.”
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One anti-TRUMP CDC worker spoke of using the CDC to ‘reach out to (the) electorate’
But, she said, they are looking for a silver lining, specifically reaching out to low-income, rural communities.
“My team is trying to identify how to reach out to this electorate that has clearly expressed that they’re hurting,” she said. “We’re thinking, you know, how can we reach out to these people so they don’t feel the need to feel disenfranchised, I guess.”
Trump Q&A about the CDC at Wednesday’s press briefing on the coronavirus:
Q Thank you, sir. A number of your supporters online have embraced these theories reported — these theories that the CDC may be exaggerating the threat of coronavirus to hurt you politically. Rush Limbaugh the other day said this has been advanced to weaponize the virus against you.
THE PRESIDENT: You don’t mean my supporters. You mean my — my people that are not supporters?
Q Right. Your opponents.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I agree with that. I do.
Q Have you seen evidence of that?
THE PRESIDENT: I think they are. I think — and I’d like it to stop. I think people know that when Chuck Schumer gets upset — I mean, he did the same thing with a couple of trade deals that are phenomenal deals now — everybody has acknowledged they’re phenomenal deals — before he ever saw the deal. He didn’t even know we were going to make a deal. They said, “What do you think of the deal with China?” “I don’t like it. I don’t like it.”
He talked about tariffs. I left the tariffs on: 25 percent on $250 billion. He said, “He took the tariffs off.” He didn’t even know the deal. And he was out there knocking it because that’s a natural thing to say. But when you’re talking about especially something like this, we have to be on the same team. This is too important. We have to be on the same team.
Q Have you seen evidence that the CDC is trying to hurt you? That there are career officials —
THE PRESIDENT: No, I don’t think the CDC is at all. No, they’ve been — they’ve been working really well together. No, they really are. They’re professional. I think they’re beyond that. They want this to go away. They want to do it with as little disruption, and they don’t want to lose life. I see the way they’re working. This gen- — these people behind me and others that are in the other room, they’re incredible people. No, I don’t see that at all.