The Trump administration is prohibiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words or phrases in official budget documents, the Washington Post reported Friday.
And liberals are outraged.
According to the Post, CDC analysts were given the list of prohibited terms at a meeting with senior agency officials in Atlanta on Thursday. The list includes:
It isn’t immediately clear why those words and phrases are being scrubbed, nor if the administration will add additional words to the list.
The language-ban is related to “budget and supporting materials” that will be given to Congress and the CDC’s partners, the Post reported. President Donald Trump is expected to release his budget for fiscal year 2019 sometime next February.
The Office of Management and Budget has jurisdiction over budget proposals, including the language agencies use. A spokesperson for the OMB did not return a request for comment from the Post.
How did people respond?
Michiko Kakutani, the former chief book critic at the New York Times, called the move “Orwellian”:
This is Orwellian: Trump admin gives CDC, the nation's top public health agency, a list of words/phrases it is prohibited from using. Words/phrases are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based" & “science-based”
— Michiko Kakutani (@michikokakutani) December 16, 2017
James Martin, a progressive Catholic priest, concurred with Katutani:
"Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it," George Orwell, "1984." https://t.co/sz8GwsggwF https://t.co/OJDPVhvp7f
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) December 16, 2017
Chris Lu, the deputy Labor secretary in the Obama administration, likened the move to something that happens in Russia or China, not the U.S.:
Astonishing: at the world’s preeminent public health agency, Trump Admin. prohibits use of these words: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
This is normal in Russia and China, not U.S.
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) December 16, 2017
Actress Aisha Tyler called the move censorship:
A critical element of fascism is censorship. Wake up, America. This administration wants to silence you.
"CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity – The Washington Post" https://t.co/QvSum7XE8v
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) December 16, 2017
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called the decision “crazy”:
This is crazy! The Trump administration gives CDC a list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity, evidence-based, vulnerable. https://t.co/5dwRdnAywB
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) December 16, 2017
“The Daily Show” writer Lizz Winstead responded by calling Charmaine Yoest, the woman Trump nominated to be assistant HHS secretary for public affairs, an “extremist”:
PLEASE SHARE: This is what happens with a president who nominates dangerous extremists like Charmaine Yoest to craft HHS policy. They want to police our bodies, our language and are trying to erase science with religious zealotry and it is terrifying. https://t.co/ECPGaPU7Qn
— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) December 16, 2017
A Twitter feed for “The Resistance” called the move another decision by Trump to make America stupid:
Trump administration is prohibiting officials at nation's top public health agency (CDC) from using these seven words or phrases in 2018 budget documents:
Trump is making America stupid again…
— The Resistance (@Resistance_Feed) December 16, 2017