New emails, revealed by congressional investigators, show how Trump appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services gleefully celebrated attempts to get the CDC to play down the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those efforts have been well-publicized: They pushed the CDC to alter reports on how bad COVID was, they muzzled Dr. Fauci, they pushed wild herd immunity theories, and they tapped pro-Trump celebs to appear in a public campaign about COVID.
The new emails show Paul Alexander, a Trumpy science adviser, wrote to then-HHS public affairs chief Michael Caputo, to say the CDC had changed two reports at his behest. “[S]mall victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!,” he wrote. Other emails show the pair’s attempts to alter messaging around COVID to better suit Trump’s agenda. Caputo took leave from HHS after he made bizarre rants about COVID conspiracies.