The presidential campaign is going to heat up in the coming weeks and months while the coronavirus pandemic continues to expand and Trump will be challenged to account for his response by the press and the Biden campaign.
According to Politico, Team Trump has been discussing a plan to point their fingers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and take actions to ensure that the agency becomes even more ineffectual.
Aides have also discussed narrowing the mission of the agency or trying to embed more political appointees within it, according to interviews with 10 current and former senior administration officials and Republicans close to the White House. One official said the overall goal would be to make the CDC nimble and more responsive.
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.”
Replacing career officials with Trump lackeys would only lead to more problems, of course, but what makes this hard to sell is the fact the CDC has never been in charge of anything.
The CDC was made subservient to Trump's coronavirus task force led by Mike Pence and Jared Kushner and, as you probably recall, the CDC was not even allowed to release their own guidelines for reopening the economy. The Trump White House objected to their guidelines because they were too strict. Pence said the guidelines were "too prescriptive."
The Trump White House may point toward the CDC and say they're responsible for botched or slow testing, but that's also difficult to sell when Trump himself says he ordered his regime to slow down testing.
This isn't about sound policy. It's not about ensuring our response to the next pandemic is better. It's about limping into the presidential election with as much ass-covering in place as possible.
The federal government will be so broken I can scarcely imagine what a hypothetical Biden administration will find when they open the doors. It will take years just to re-staff and rebuild.