Democrats have blasted President Trump's handling of the coronavirus, accusing him of mishandling and underfunding the federal government's response to the outbreak. The Associated Press now says the allegations made by two leading presidential hopefuls are false.
According to Fox News, the AP declared that former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg were "both wrong" when they claimed during Tuesday's debate in South Carolina that Trump had carried out funding cuts for federal health agencies.
What did they say?
Both Bloomberg and Biden argued the nation's 45th president restricted resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health, and that this has debilitated the federal government's ability to manage a public health risk.
"There's nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing. And he's defunded — he's defunded Centers for Disease Control, CDC, so we don't have the organization we need. This is a very serious thing," Bloomberg said.
Biden made a leveled a similar charge.
"We increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget. ... He's wiped all that out. ... He cut the funding for the entire effort," said the former vice president.
'The CDC's response has been excellent'
The AP analyzed the claims and determined the budget cuts never went into effect. In fact, funding to fight the spread of the virus came from a congressional fund dedicated to health emergencies.
In fact, at least one independent expert has applauded the administration's response to the coronavirus.
"The CDC's response has been excellent, as it has been in the past," said John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for America's Health, which works closely with officials at the local, state, and federal levels to enhance the nation's readiness for health-related crises.
The fact-checkers also noted that claims made by Democrats that there is "nobody here" to coordinate the response the coronavirus "sells short what's in place to handle an outbreak."
"The public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation — regardless of who's president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House," reported the AP. "Those plans were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic, but are designed to work for any respiratory-borne disease."