KEY POINTS

  • President Trump downplayed the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new House report shows
  • House Democrats claim Trump misrepresented the risks to the American people for political gain
  • The White House blasts Democrats for "irresponsibly" releasing the documents

Democrats are accusing the Trump Administration of suppressing alarming reports from state and federal health officials that painted a true but grim picture of the COVID-19 pandemic over the summer when the disease resurged.

On Monday, the House Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus led by Democrats published eight weeks of COVID-19 confidential reports from individual states prepared by the White House coronavirus task force and regularly shared to governors. Each report details key data such as confirmed cases, testing, positivity rates and hospitalizations for every state.

Based on regularly updated information, the reports directly contradict optimistic pronouncements by President Donald Trump and his officials, who painted a far rosier picture of the true state of the pandemic than the reports revealed. The subcommittee said the confidential documents prove the Trump Administration acted to willfully cover-up public health risks for political gain.

“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,” Subcommittee Chairman James Clyburn, D-S.C., said in a statement.

Clyburn said the task force reports show the White House has known since June that COVID-19 cases were surging across the U.S. and many states were becoming dangerous "red zones" indicating severe outbreaks of the disease.

The documents also reveal several states failed to implement public health recommendations set by the coronavirus task force more than two months ago. Among these unfulfilled measures were mask mandates, closing bars and banning large gatherings.

The subcommittee's assessment was based on published reports from June 23 to Aug. 9. It said the White House has refused to make all the coronavirus task force reports public.

On July 5, the task force warned 15 states were now in the red zone and noted that Florida “has seen a significant increase in new cases and a significant increase in testing positivity over the past week continuing from the previous 4 weeks.” Two days later, however, Trump said “we’ve done a good job. I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we’re going to be in very good shape.”

An Aug. 9 report, the most recent to be unveiled, saw the task force warn that 48 states and Washington D.C. were either in red or yellow zones. The week before, Trump tweeted that “Cases up because of BIG Testing!  Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!”

White House spokesperson Judd Deere assailed Democrats for "irresponsibly" releasing the documents "for the purpose of falsely distorting the President’s record."