Trump removed all U.S. staff in China working in the Global Health Protection program tracking and preventing the spread of infectious diseases — leaving America without vital experts on the ground as the coronavirus spread
New reporting from PolitiFact finds that, ahead of the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration removed all American CDC staffers from China working on a critical program put in place by the Obama-Biden administration to “boost capacity worldwide to spot and contain new infectious diseases.”
The CDC revealed to PolitiFact that by 2019 the Trump administration had removed all American staffers from China assigned to the Global Health Protection program — eliminating our ability to quickly identify new diseases like the coronavirus. This story builds on previous reporting by Reuters that the Trump administration drastically cut CDC staff in China — including removing our primary embedded liaison with the Chinese CDC.
This reporting is the latest example of how Trump spent years actively undermining our preparedness to cope with a pandemic like the coronavirus — including doing away with critical measures put in place by the Obama-Biden administration. In addition to removing CDC staff on the ground in China, Trump also disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic office, threw out the Obama-Biden pandemic playbook, and even defunded a program called PREDICT that created a global early warning network for new viruses — including in Wuhan.
Trump left us unprepared for the coronavirus — only exacerbating the failures of his chaotic and erratic response — and he repeatedly praised the Chinese government for its “transparency” instead of heeding Vice President Biden’s early calls to take action, and get American experts on the ground in China.
Trump failed, and the United States is now paying a dear price, with almost 100,000 Americans dead, more than 1.5 million infected, and nearly 40 million workers newly jobless.