Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, released eight weeks of White House Coronavirus Task Force reports obtained in response to the Select Subcommittee’s July 29, 2020, request to Vice President Mike Pence and White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. These reports — which the White House sent privately to states but did not disclose to the public — directly contradict the Administration’s rosy public statements downplaying the threat of the virus.
“The Task Force reports released today show the White House has known since June that coronavirus cases were surging across the country and many states were becoming dangerous ‘red zones’ where the virus was spreading fast,” said Chairman Clyburn. “Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the President and his enablers kept these alarming reports private while publicly downplaying the threat to millions of Americans. As a result of the President’s failures, more than 58,000 additional Americans have died since the Task Force first started issuing private warnings, and many of the Task Force’s recommendations still have not been implemented. It is long past time that the Administration finally implement a national plan to contain this crisis, which is still killing hundreds of Americans each day.”
The eight White House Coronavirus Task Force reports released today were issued from June 23, 2020, through August 9, 2020. These reports contradict contemporaneous public statements from Administration officials downplaying the severity of the coronavirus crisis:
The Select Subcommittee’s investigation shows that many states are still failing to comply with key Task Force recommendations, including some recommendations first made nearly two months ago. On July 29, the Select Subcommittee sent requests to several states with significant recent outbreaks that are not following this guidance, including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. In response, these states acknowledged receiving the Task Force’s private reports and recommendations but did not commit to implementing additional public health measures recommended by the Task Force to stop the spread of the virus. For example:
Fourteen states that have been in the “red zone” since June 23 have refused to impose statewide mask mandates per Task Force’s recommendations — including states with severe case spikes like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Two states — Iowa and Nebraska — have attempted to ban local jurisdictions from imposing mask mandates, and Georgia only recently reversed a similar ban and dropped a lawsuit aimed at invalidating mask ordinances instituted by the city of Atlanta.
The Task Force reports released today recommend that state and local governments implement heightened public health measures to combat the spread of the virus — including requiring face masks in public, closing bars and gyms, and strictly limiting gatherings on a statewide basis in certain states. Yet the Trump Administration has failed to publicly support most of the Task Force’s recommendations. For example, President Trump has refused to call for a nationwide mask mandate.
The Administration has also refused to make the Task Force’s reports and recommendations available to the public. Instead, the Task Force has privately issued reports to states and held periodic calls and meetings with state and local officials that are closed to the public.
The Task Force’s reports also have been kept secret from some local government and public health officials who need them.
Click below to read the Task Force’s reports released today: