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18 Dec, 2021 00:45

House Covid committee assigns blame for ‘botched’ pandemic response

House Covid committee assigns blame for ‘botched’ pandemic response

Former US President Donald Trump and his administration undermined America’s Covid-19 response for the sake of political gain, a Democrat-led House committee involving some of the ex-president’s fiercest opponents said.

The Trump administration’s “persistent political interference” is to blame for the botched coronavirus response that has seen more than 800,000 Americans dying from the disease so far, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said in a report on Friday. It placed the blame for what it called “one of the worst failures of leadership in American history” squarely on the 45th president and his administration.

The report published by the Democrat majority on Friday is a year-end review of the lengthy inquiry, which saw the subcommittee reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of various documents, conducting a dozen interviews with “key officials,” and holding 14 hearings and public briefings to supposedly get to the bottom of America’s shortcomings in fighting the pandemic.

The document focused almost entirely on the “failures” of the Trump administration, while also naming companies that “profited during the pandemic” at the expense of public health. The list of alleged failures ranges from blocking public briefings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and sidelining the CDC in finalizing certain Covid-19 health guidance, to pressuring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into authorizing “ineffective” treatments like hydroxychloroquine.

The ex-president and his administration were also accused of favoring a “dangerous herd immunity strategy” and taking steps to limit Covid-19 testing to supposedly conceal the speed with which the virus spread throughout the US.

Another allegation directly accused Trump and his administration of “neglecting the pandemic response” to fully focus on his re-election and “the Big Lie that the election results were fraudulent.”

Republicans denounced the report as a partisan product of a “sham subcommittee” aiming to “politicize the pandemic.”

“President Biden promised to ‘shut down the virus,’ but more Americans have died this year from COVID than the previous year. He promised to follow the science, but he allowed union bosses to dictate policy that tags parents as domestic terrorists and effectively keeps schools shuttered,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), who sits on the panel, said in a statement on Friday.

The subcommittee was led by Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina), a prominent Democrat, who accused Trump of attempting to start a “race war” in the wake of the US Capitol riot on January 6. Clyburn was also one of the key supporters of the current president, Joe Biden, whose emotional endorsement during the primaries led to him being branded 'kingmaker' in the race.

Other Democrats on the panel are also known to be among Trump’s most vehement critics, including Maxine Waters of California, Trump’s “lead impeachment manager” Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and active impeachment supporters Bill Foster of Illinois and Carolyn B. Maloney of New York.