Intended for healthcare professionals


Trump appointees tamper with renowned CDC publication, claiming that scientists are trying to “hurt the president”

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 15 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3589
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal, Canada

Public relations staff installed by the Trump administration at the US Department of Health and Human Services have been seeking to edit or block the key weekly publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), claiming that its covid-19 reporting is aimed at hurting the president’s bid for re-election.

The top spokesman of the US health department, assistant secretary of public affairs Michael Caputo, and a scientific advisor he appointed sent peremptory emails to CDC director Robert Redfield demanding changes to the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), for decades a fixture of the US public health landscape.1

The emails were shared with the website Politico by three anonymous CDC whistleblowers.2 Redfield has resisted most changes so far, they said, but the public relations appointees have won …

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