Reports have emerged that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was pressured by the White House not to extend the “no-sail order” on passenger cruises past October 31 and that Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, was overruled when he pushed to extend the ban into next year.
According to various reports two sources with direct knowledge of the conversation said that in a meeting of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force in the Situation Room, Redfield argued that the government’s ban on cruise ships, should be extended until February 2021 because of the virus’ severity and the vulnerability for spread on cruises.
Cruise ships were the sites of some of the most severe early coronavirus outbreaks, and their future is just the latest disagreement between Redfield and members of Trump’s team. While White House officials deny politics played any part in the decision, but this is not the first time Redfield has been undermined by the Administration.
Public health officials have privately complained that the cruise ship ban is politically motivated because the industry is a major economic presence in Florida — a key battleground state where the polls are statistically tied and argue that a politically motivated White House is ignoring the science and pushing too aggressively to reopen the economy and encourage large gatherings.
Representatives of the cruise industry are set to meet with the Trump administration to “describe their transformation and dozens of ways that they will mitigate risk and ensure public health,” according to a White House official.
The administration hopes that the cruise industry can demonstrate it has a plan to ensure “ships can sail in a safe and responsible manner and that the companies assume the burden of dealing with any possible outbreaks,” said a task force member involved in the talks.
White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern rejected the officials’ complaints that election year politics influenced the cruise ship decision.
“The president, the vice president and the task force follow the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country,” he said. “It is not about politics. It is about saving lives.”
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Rep. Maloney has asked for additional documents relating to the meeting and is seeking answers over the reports of pressure from the White House to limit the no sail order.
Source: Travel Industry Today
POLITICS OR SAVING LIVES: CDC overruled on extending cruise ban