Watchdog Calls for Investigation of CDC’s Trump Mailer by Inspector General
“Because this mailing features Trump’s name above all else and clearly seeks to cover up his well-documented history of undermining CDC public health recommendations, it can be quite reasonably viewed as electioneering — especially with Election Day fast-approaching.”
Postcard “represents a serious misuse of taxpayer funds, inappropriate communication by a government agency, and an act of illegal electioneering by Trump administration officials.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, government watchdog group Accountable.US sent a letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calling for an investigation into the controversial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) postcard mailed to every residential address in the United States. The mailer features President Trump’s name more prominently than the public health guidelines it also includes.
The letter from Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, says, “the episode raises many questions that warrant investigation: How were recipients of the mailing prioritized — who received it first? Who was involved in the mailer’s design, review, and approval — including the decision to feature Trump on the front? Who printed the mailer? What was the cost? Who from the CDC, Health and Human Services Department, or White House were involved in any aspect of this endeavor?” Herrig ultimately concludes that “it appears highly likely that this mailing represents a serious misuse of taxpayer funds, inappropriate communication by a government agency, and an act of illegal electioneering by Trump administration officials.”
In terms of design, the main feature of the mailing is Trump’s name rather than the actual guidelines. In fact, the message including the President’s name takes up more real estate on the postcard — one full side — than any other item.
How Can They Be Trump’s Guidelines If He Regularly Flouts Them?
Identifying these “coronavirus guidelines” specifically as Trump’s seems particularly misleading considering the fact that he has frequently undermined these very CDC guidelines.
- Rather than listening to state authorities, Trump has publicly attacked state leaders including Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and Democratic governors in general.
- Rather than staying home when sick or working from home whenever possible, Trump said that people infected with COVID-19 might recover “by sitting around and even going back to work” during a Fox News interview.
- Rather than avoiding social gathers in groups of more than 10 people, Trump held a press conference with more than 10 people and shook each of their hands, violating other CDC guidelines.
- Rather than staying at home and away from other people as an older American, 73-year old Trump traveled to Norfolk, VA to see off the departure of a Navy ship.
Trump Also Said He Did Not Really Support CDC Recommendations
As media have reported, during a Fox News interview in the Rose Garden on March 24, the President “said he did not really support those recommendations, and only went along with them because he was afraid of being criticized if he did not.”
Trump’s Political Use of Official White House Events Should Have Raised Red Flags
Given Trump’s history of using official White House events paid for by taxpayers to boost his reelection and attack his opponents, these are very real concerns. As media have reported, during a recent visit to the CDC in Atlanta, the President wore a hat featuring his campaign slogan. Furthermore, Trump and his surrogates and allies have suggested that his response to the coronavirus crisis is key to his reelection in 2020.