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Trump’s press secretary suggests journalists don’t believe in God after question about Trump ordering churches to reopen – The Sun

TENSIONS boiled over at the White House when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany implied journalists at a press briefing did not believe in God.

McEnany was facing questions Friday after President Donald Trump ordered governors to allow places of worship to reopen this weekend.


“Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately seems to want to see these houses of worship closed,” she said to the White House correspondents.

Reuters reporter Jeff Mason objection to McEnany’s statement.

“Kayleigh, I object to that,” Mason said.

“I go to church. I’m dying to go back to church,” he continued.

“The question that we’re asking you is, is it safe? And if it’s not safe … should people wait?"

McEnany, a Harvard Law School graduate and former commentator on CNN who began the role this month, responded that “it is safe if you reopen in accordance with the guidelines.”

Moments earlier, when another reporter asked if the President was urging churches to defy governor’s order to stay shut, McEnany replied:

“You’re posing a hypothetical. You’re assuming governors are going to keep churches shut down. I think we can all say that we hope this Sunday people are allowed to pray to their Gods across this country.

“That’s a good thing,” she added.

The tense briefing followed President Trump’s order to governors to allow places of worship to reopen this weekend, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

"Today I'm identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services," Trump said at the White House Friday.

"I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now," he added.

"If there is any question, they're going to have to call me but they're not going to be successful in that call."

He said if governors don’t abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it’s unclear what authority he has to do so.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago, but the White House had refused to release them until Thursday when Trump abruptly changed course.

The President criticized governors who deemed "liquor stores and abortion centers" essential, but not places of worship.

"It's not right," he said at the press conference. "So I'm correcting this injustice."

"These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united."

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Trump's Attack On Vote-By-Mail Plans In Key 2020 States Is "Misinformation," A Top State Official Says

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Local and federal officials pushed back Wednesday against a barrage of tweets from President Donald Trump that appeared to lay the groundwork for alleging voter fraud ahead of November’s election, with Michigan’s secretary of state accusing the president contributing to a wave of political “misinformation.”

As the coronavirus death toll in the US neared 100,000, Trump spent the morning tweeting error-filled missives directed at Michigan and Nevada, which have launched initiatives to inform voters about their ability to vote by mail amid fears the pandemic could make in-person voting unsafe.

Trump first targeted Michigan, where he has been engaged in a public battle with Gretchen Whitmer, the state’s governor and a potential vice presidential pick for his likely election rival Joe Biden. Trump accused the state of improperly sending absentee ballots to 7.7 million people — hours later correcting it to read that the state had sent out applications for those ballots. He said the move was done “illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State” and said he would seek to hold funding for Michigan “if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” He later targeted Nevada, also alleging a “great Voter Fraud scenario” and saying “you must not cheat in elections.”

Several states, in line with local and federal regulations, have been encouraging mail-in ballots in a bid to avoid large gatherings as the coronavirus pandemic continues, posing a potential threat to voters and workers at poll sites, who often come from the most at-risk groups. In Wisconsin, health officials said at least 52 people who voted in-person or worked polls during the state’s primary last month had gotten COVID-19, though it remains unclear if there is a direct link to voting day.

Trump’s tweets came one day after Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state, announced that Michigan’s voters would be mailed applications to request an absentee ballot so that “no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote.” Michigan is due to hold a state primary in August, before the general election in November. More than 5,000 people in the state have died from COVID-19.

Benson told BuzzFeed News she was concerned Trump’s tweets could work to undermine voters’ faith in the election. “We know the important role that Michigan has this year on many levels with many races,” she said. “Because of that, we’re prepared for multiple sources of efforts to misinform our voters — from foreign adversaries, bad actors, partisan actors. I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d have to push back about efforts to misinform our voters about this particular issue coming from the White House, but that’s indeed what we had to do and we’ll continue to do that in light of anyone from any party, from any source, that will in any way use a platform to misinform our voters about their rights.”

Trump won Michigan by just .23% of the vote in 2016. He is due to visit the state on Thursday, touring a Ford Motor plant in Ypsilanti that has pivoted to making personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators to address the coronavirus crisis.

Two years ago, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow for absentee voting. Benson called her move to mail out information and applications to Michigan’s voters “the opposite” of rogue. She said a similar effort during local elections on May 5 led to 99% of voters opting in for mail-in ballots, leading to “the highest turnout we’ve ever had in a local election statewide.”

The current effort to mail absentee ballot applications to Michigan voters is being funded by money the state has received from the CARES Act, Benson said, adding that they had already received the funding in full. Asked to explain what Trump could have been referring to when he said “I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Benson said, “There is so much misinformation in those tweets that I don’t know how to weigh any of it other than to simply just cut through and speak the truth.”

Trump has loudly disparaged voting by mail, a method that could increase voter turnout in what is likely to be a hotly contested election. He tweeted about it last month, alleging that it carried “tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans,” even though there is no evidence the method promotes widespread fraud. Later pressed at a briefing on why it was alright for him to vote by absentee ballot in the primary in Florida, where he is registered, Trump presented an evidence-free theory that the process for in-state and out-of-state absentee ballots is different.

Barbara Cegavske, Nevada’s secretary of state, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that the decision to allow mail-in voting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic was “necessary and prudent” and “not made lightly,” and she assured voters that the state had “many safeguards in place to ensure the integrity of an all-mail election,” without mentioning Trump by name.

The fact that Trump had chosen to call out states whose secretaries of state are both women was not lost on Benson. Asked if Trump was singling them out because they are women, Benson said, “I hope not — although, you know, actions and evidence would suggest otherwise. It certainly isn’t lost on me that colleagues in other states like Iowa, Nebraska, Georgia, West Virginia, who are doing the same thing we’re doing, escaped the president’s ire — those aren’t only of the same party but of course they’re of the same gender. That is what it is.”

The office of Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger — a Republican who works with a Republican governor — issued a statement following Trump’s tweets saying that he was “encouraging Georgians to vote absentee by mail to protect their health and limit wait times at the ballot box.”

“Considering the health risks posed by COVID-19, Georgians should seriously consider submitting an absentee ballot by mail for the June 9 elections,” Raffensperger said. Almost 1.5 million people in Georgia have requested absentee ballots already, he said.

The Republican National Committee stood by the president. “We have been clear that we cannot have rogue state officials or activist courts making unilateral decisions,” the group’s press secretary Mandi Merritt said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We continue to support lawful absentee voting with the proper safeguards in place, safeguards which Democrats are suing to eliminate in states like Michigan.”

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) issued a joint statement noting that “election officials are weighing all contingencies to ensure elections this year are secure and accessible for all voters, including increasing absentee or mail-in voting and adjusting in-person voting as circumstances require and state laws permit,” appearing to undermine Trump’s statement that Michigan and Nevada were undertaking “rogue” moves.

Trump appeared distant from the entire infrastructure designed to ensure that elections run smoothly. On Wednesday morning, just as Trump was kicking off his Twitter rant, the Trump-nominated head of the Elections Assistance Commission tweeted a photo. In it, he is wearing a mask and holding a mail-in ballot. “Thank you Montgomery County Elections (@777Vote), MD State Board of Elections (@md_sbe) and @USPS for all you are doing to help #DeliverDemocracy! #2020Focus #Protect2020”

More on voting by mail

  • Republicans May Undermine Mail-In Voting Just By Running Down The ClockDominic Holden · April 26, 2020

  1. Donald Trump
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Trump’s new chief of staff says his ‘biggest concern is making sure president EATS’ every day during pandemic – The Sun

DONALD Trump’s new chief of staff claims his “biggest concern” is making sure the president eats every day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite holding one of the most high-pressure jobs in the White House, Mark Meadows insists Trump’s food schedule is top of his list of priorities.

The comments to the New York Post come after Trump slammed The New York Times for an article claiming he didn’t work long hours, and often trades the Oval Office for his room so he could "angrily" munch on hamburgers and drink Diet Coke.

The Times report described the president as indulging in comfort food like french fries after long press briefings along with "his constant companion, television."

Trump slammed the article on Twitter, writing: “I work from early in the morning until late at night, haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc.”

Trump said the “phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work schedule and eating habits, [was] written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me.”

“I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!”

Trump also tweeted that those who know him “and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history.”

“I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!”

Meadows, Trump’s fourth chief of staff who took on the role in March, told the Post: “I can tell you that the biggest concern I have as a new chief of staff is making sure he gets some time to get a quick bite to eat.”

“I can tell you that he will go back in and have a lunch just off the Oval Office and more times than not it is interrupted by several phone calls,” Meadows said.

“If he gets more than 10 minutes of time in a given day, I haven’t seen in the five weeks I’ve been here.”


Another White House official said: “There are times when lunch isn’t even a thought. A lot of time there’s either no time for lunch or there is 10 minutes for lunch.”

Trump and his administration have been criticized for what political pundits and others have said is a poor response to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Monday morning, more than 967,000 people in the U.S. tested positive for the virus — and nearly 55,000 people have died from COVID-19.

The United States’ numbers far exceed other countries’ reported case and death totals, outpacing places like Spain with 229,000 cases and Italy with 197,000 cases.

China — the epicenter of the world’s outbreak — has claimed only 83,000 or so people have tested positive for the virus, but U.S. intelligence officials have found the country intentionally faked their numbers.

For months, the Trump administration has said they were prepared to combat the virus and their response has been adequate.

But critics and those working on the front lines say Trump’s response hasn’t been good enough, as many medics have lacked protective equipment and the essential tools needed to fight off the coronavirus and a testing system — key to containing the outbreak — has not been put in place.

Despite the criticism, an official told the Post: “We watch him work and work and work, and we get frustrated by the inaccurate coverage, which does not reflect the hard work and leadership we witness every day.”

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Donald Trump's final Republican primary challenger drops out

Donald Trump’s final Republican primary challenger drops out: Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld quits day after president’s new home state made his run a mathematical impossibility

  • Donald Trump’s final Republican primary challenger dropped out of the race
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld said he was ending his campaign 
  • Trump’s renomination was never in doubt 
  • Weld only amassed one delegate during the Republican primary process
  • After Tuesday’s primaries, Trump had enough delegates for the nomination 

Donald Trump’s final Republican primary challenger dropped out of the race Wednesday after the president officially amassed enough delegates to be the party’s nominee for November’s election.

Trump’s renomination was never in doubt and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld barely cracked a dent in the president’s re-election plans. 

‘With deep gratitude to all who have stood with me during the past eleven months in our effort to bring better government to Washington, D.C., I am today suspending my candidacy for President of the United States,’ Weld said in a statement. 

After Tuesday’s primaries, President Donald Trump officially had enough delegates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination

Trump’s last remaining primary challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, dropped out of the race on Wednesday

He was a fierce Trump critic who called on the president to resign. He said he was running to give Republican another option besides the incumbent. 

But Weld only amassed one delegate – from Iowa – during his presidential bid. His campaign failed to catch fire, even in New Hampshire where he hoped to make traction given he was from the neighboring state. 

Trump, after Tuesday’s primaries had 1,330 delegates, surpassing the 1,276 needed for the nomination. 

‘Leading this movement is one of the greatest honors of my life, and I will always be indebted to all who have played a part,’ Weld said.

‘But while I am suspending my candidacy,’ he noted, ‘I want to be clear that I am not suspending my commitment to the nation and to the democratic institutions that set us apart.’

Weld served as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s and, in  2016, was the vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian ticket.

Weld was the last primary challenger left standing to the president. Earlier contenders – Joe Walsh, a former congressman from Illinois, and Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina congressman – dropped already.

President Trump will formally become the GOP nominee at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August. 


Joe Walsh, a former congressman from Illinois, and Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina congressman, had already dropped out of the Republican primary contest

President Donald Trump’s renomination was never in doubt but he has suspended holding campaign rallies while the country deals with the coronavirus

The president had suspended his campaign rallies to help keep down the spread of the coronavirus. His administration has recommended limiting gatherings to under 10 people. 

On the Democratic side, Joe Biden racked up another series of wins Tuesday night. Rival Bernie Sanders is reassessing his campaign in the wake of Biden’s delegate surge.

But the Vermont senator has given no timetable on making a decision on staying in the race.  

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Criticisms of Trump’s coronavirus response are sickening: Devine

Who better to have as president during the coronavirus epidemic but a renowned germaphobe, the “build-the-wall” guy who refuses to kowtow to China?

It’s a unique set of characteristics showing that President Trump understood early the need for decisive measures such as travel restrictions on China, which he imposed in January.

Yet, for that sensible decision — in defiance of the World Health Organization — he was criticized by Democrats such as Joe Biden as xenophobic, and by China as racist.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering,” said Biden the day after the travel restrictions were imposed.

CNN ran a story warning that “the US coronavirus travel ban could backfire” and have the effect of “stigmatizing countries and ethnicities.”

The Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, called the ban “racist.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned it would increase “fear and stigma, with little public health benefit.”

It is hard to have much confidence in a United Nations bureaucracy run by the former health minister of the Marxist regime of Ethiopia. In 2017, Tedros tried to appoint then-Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador, and he seems to have a soft spot for China.

The Council on Foreign Relations think tank said last week that Tedros owes China because it backed him in the election to become director-general in 2017.

Tedros denies kowtowing to Beijing, but, not only did he advise governments not to restrict travel from China at the start of the epidemic, he was slow to declare a global health emergency and praised China for its “transparency,” although the communist authorities there had been covering up the spread of the disease.

So ignoring Tedros turned out to be one of the president’s smartest decisions.

At the press conference with Trump on Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highly respected head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised the “original decision that was made by the president” . . . [that] prevented travel from China to the United States.

“If we had not done that, we would have had many, many more cases right here that we would have to be dealing with.”

Trump’s travel restrictions began on Jan. 31. Australia and Singapore instituted their own travel limits the next day. Trump’s move bought valuable time to slow the spread of the virus and ease pressure on the nation’s health system before a vaccine is developed — which experts believe is at least 18 months away.

But that hasn’t stopped the barrage of fake criticisms, including that Trump had left the nation dangerously unprepared to cope with a pandemic by cutting funding to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not true. The CDC’s programming budget increased from $7.2 billion in 2019 to nearly $7.7 billion this year, the Associated Press fact-checking unit reported. Trump had proposed a cut, but Congress rejected it.

It’s reprehensible for the Democrats to make political hay by blaming Trump for the coronavirus or, as a New York Times op-ed piece called it, “Trumpvirus.”

In an editorial Saturday, the Gray Lady also reiterated its debunked claim that Trump has “muzzled” Fauci.

Yet, at Saturday’s 2 p.m. press conference — hours before the Times’ deadline — Fauci emphatically denied the claim.

“I have never been muzzled, ever, and I’ve been doing this since the administration of Ronald Reagan,” Fauci said. “I’m not being muzzled by this administration. That was a real misrepresentation of what happened.”

What shoddy journalism to publish such an incendiary, anonymously sourced claim, without at least including Fauci’s denial.

The anti-Trump narrative rolled on, with increasingly silly attacks. The Washington Post speculated the coronavirus could be “Trump’s Katrina,” referring to Hurricane Katrina, which had been bungled by President George W. Bush.

When Trump announced a coronavirus task force with the most eminent experts in the nation, CNN blasted him for a “lack of diversity.”

You could hardly blame the president for calling all this unfair criticism the “new hoax” of the Democrats and Resistance media, to try to take him down, like the Russia collusion hoax and the impeachment gambit. Of course, then his opponents twisted his words to pretend he had called the coronavirus a “hoax.”

The obvious untruth was spread by established journalists such as Dana Millbank of The Washington Post, who tweeted Friday night: “Remember this moment: Trump, in South Carolina, just called the coronavirus a ‘hoax.’”

When Trump pointed out that he had said no such thing, which the footage of his remarks confirms, the Daily News claimed yesterday he had “backed away from his claim that the coronavirus is a ‘hoax.’”

This is Twitter-level disinformation.

Michael Bloomberg is as bad. After spending days accusing the president of dismissing the spread of the virus as a hoax, he had the nerve to take out ads on prime-time TV Sunday saying the epidemic “requires putting politics and partisanship aside.” Hah! In our dreams.

The problem is that Trump Derangement Syndrome stands in the way of the bipartisan co-operation required to defeat this epidemic.

Bern’s appeal fragile

Good for the voters of South Carolina for rejecting socialism with their decisive vote for Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary Saturday.

Who knows how Biden will fare on Super Tuesday but, for all the hype about Bernie Sanders, his distant second-place finish is a reminder that his momentum is fragile.

His large rallies of young people are deceptive because Sanders lures them with concerts by cool bands such as Vampire Weekend. It’s unclear how he’d fare without the free entertainment.

Plus, his big promise, along with free college tuition and forgiving student debt, is legalized pot.

It will be hard to get the big turnout he needs if his voters are too stoned to get off the couch.

Toss idiotic bag ban

It’s bad enough that plastic bags have been banned. This incredible invention, which served double-duty as a garbage bin liner and a pet-poop scooper, will be sorely missed.

But for the city to slap a 5-cent tax on paper bags at the same time is just cruel.

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Fact check: Trump’s unreliable comments on the coronavirus

Washington: President Donald Trump has not proved to be the bearer of reliable information when calamity threatens and people want straight answers about it. That's happening again as he addresses the prospect of a coronavirus outbreak in the US.

With numbers still low, but the first death in the US now reported, the infectious disease risks not only public health but the economy he holds up to voters for his re-election. To date, his comments have largely seemed intended to put a positive spin on hard information from the scientists, as if he were wishing the problem away.

US President Donald Trump kisses the American flag after speaking at Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.Credit:AP

Trump's comment Friday night, characterising Democratic criticism of the administration’s response to the virus as a “hoax,” lent weight to the perception that he's minimising the potential for harm in search of political gain. He emphasised Saturday that he does not consider the coronavirus threat a hoax – only the pushback from Democrats.

Trump has a record of unreliability on this front. In one hurricane episode, he displayed a map doctored to reflect his personal and ill-founded theory that Alabama would take it on the chin. In another, he dismissed the Puerto Rico death toll as a concoction by Democrats.

He was fast off the mark to describe the injuries suffered by US service members from an Iranian missile attack as little more than headaches, when it turned out scores suffered traumatic brain injury.

For their part, Democrats have been quick to criticise the Trump administration – at times too quick. Several presidential candidates described the federal response as hampered by Trump budget cuts, which have not happened, and by a decimated public-health bureaucracy, despite the top-of-class scientists steering the effort.

Here are the facts behind some of the political rhetoric of the past week, on the virus and more.

TRUMP: "We are rapidly developing a vaccine. … The vaccine is coming along well, and in speaking to the doctors, we think this is something that we can develop very rapidly." – news conference Wednesday.

THE FACTS: No vaccine is imminent for the coronavirus.

A candidate vaccine for the virus causing COVID-19 is approaching first-step safety tests, but federal experts say anything widely usable is probably more than a year away.

"We can't rely on a vaccine over the next several months," said Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health.

TRUMP: "The level of death with Ebola – you know, at the time, it was a virtual 100 per cent. … There's a very good chance you're not going to die. It's very much the opposite. You're talking about 1 or 2 per cent, whereas in the other case, it was a virtual 100 per cent. Now they have it; they have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we're very close to a vaccine." – news conference Tuesday in New Delhi.

THE FACTS: "Close" is not correct. A vaccine has already been developed for Ebola. The FDA approved an Ebola vaccine in December. Even before its US approval, it was being used in Congo to help stem the current outbreak.

TRUMP, on US coronavirus cases: "We're going down, not up. We're going very substantially down, not up." – news conference Wednesday.

THE FACTS: That was false assurance. He was referring to the fact that most of the people he cited as having COVID-19 in the U.S. are getting better. But that is not indicative of the spread or containment of the disease since most victims, by far, recover.

Cases in the US are almost certain to increase, his own officials have said repeatedly, and he acknowledged as much on Saturday.

TRUMP: "Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s." – news conference Saturday.

THE FACTS: The patient who died of the disease was a man. Dr Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said the CDC mistakenly told Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence that the victim was female.

TRUMP: "The flu in our country kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year; that was shocking to me. And so far, if you look at what we have with the 15 people, and they are recovering."

THE FACTS: His remarks on the coronavirus risks are misleading. Scientists don't know enough about how deadly the new virus actually is, and so far it hasn't infected nearly as many people as the flu. Of the cases cited by Trump, they are not "all recovering." One died and four others are "very ill," he said Saturday.

Flu deaths fluctuate depending on which strain is circulating and how well each year's vaccine is working, but Trump's cited range is in the ballpark. Two flu seasons ago, the CDC estimated there were 80,000 US deaths, the highest death toll in at least four decades. This year's flu season isn't as deadly; so far this season, the CDC estimates there have been 16,000 to 41,000 deaths from the flu.

As to COVID-19, an illness characterised by fever and coughing and in serious cases shortness of breath or pneumonia, there are now at least 60 cases in the US. In addition to the ones Trump cited, 45 were among groups the US government evacuated and quarantined either from China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

In the hardest-hit part of China, the death rate from the new coronavirus was between 2 per cent and 4 per cent, while in other parts of China it was 0.7 per cent. In contrast, the death rate from seasonal flu on average is about 0.1 per cent, said Fauci, of the US National Institutes of Health. That's far lower than what has been calculated so far for COVID-19. But millions of people get the flu every year around the world, leading to a global annual death toll in the hundreds of thousands.

MIKE BLOOMBERG: "There's nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing. And he's defunded – he's defunded Centres for Disease Control, CDC, so we don't have the organisation we need. This is a very serious thing." – Democratic presidential debate Tuesday.

JOE BIDEN, comparing the Obama-Biden administration with now: "We increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget. … He's wiped all that out. … He cut the funding for the entire effort."

THE FACTS: They're both wrong to say the agencies have seen their money cut. Bloomberg is repeating the false allegation in a new ad that states the US is unprepared for the virus because of "reckless cuts" to the CDC. Trump's budgets have proposed cuts to public health, only to be overruled by Congress, where there's strong bipartisan support for agencies such as the CDC and NIH. Instead, financing has increased.

Indeed, the money that government disease detectives first tapped to fight the latest outbreak was a congressional fund created for health emergencies.

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 predates Trump.

The broader point about there being "nobody here" to co-ordinate the response sells short what's in place to handle an outbreak.

The public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation – regardless of who's president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House. Public-health experts outside government have praised the CDC's work so far and noted that its top scientific ranks have remained stable during the past three years.

AP

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