(USA Features) A slew of Democratic presidential contenders earlier this week accused President Donald Trump’s administration of cutting much-needed funds for the agency charged with handling the coronavirus, but The Associated Press says that’s not true.
In a ‘fact check‘ of those claims, the AP rated as false and “distorted” Democrat accusations that the administration is ill-prepared to confront the virus and that the president cut funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Democratic presidential contenders are describing the federal infectious-disease bureaucracy as rudderless and ill-prepared for the coronavirus threat because of budget cuts and ham-handed leadership by President Donald Trump. That’s a distorted picture. For starters, Trump hasn’t succeeded in cutting the budget,” the AP wrote.
“He’s proposed cuts but Congress ignored him and increased financing instead. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect,” the newswire service added.
In addition, the White House has already sent a $2.5 billion emergency funding request to Congress, though as of now, only 60 confirmed cases have been identified in the U.S.
“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 AP noted.
“The CDC’s response has been excellent, as it has been in the past,” John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health, which works with government at all levels to improve the nation’s response to high-risk health crises, told the AP.
Some Democrats have also accused Trump of decimating the ranks of top scientists and leaders at the CDC, but Auerbach refuted that, saying the scientific ranks have remained steady for the past three years.
Others who support Trump’s actions also praised his decision to shut down travel from China early on, a decision that was criticized by detractors but which likely curtailed a much wider epidemic of coronavirus, which originated in the Asian nation.