Politics

‘Undermining Public Trust’: Email Crash Reportedly Slows Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Response

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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An email outage inside the Health and Human Services secretary’s office reportedly bungled the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus and created internal turmoil inside the office.

Some email messages inside the office were delayed up to 11 hours, effectively slowing President Donald Trump’s response to the virus, which has negatively impacted the global economy and created uncertainty, Politico reported in a Tuesday exclusive.

The breakdown happened while White House officials were negotiating with the HHS over a funding plan on how to tackle coronavirus. The problem happened while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted an email test.

CMS did not notify HHS before flooding the shared email listserv with thousands of messages.

“It’s the same problem, the same behavior, but at the exact wrong time,” one official said, according to the Politico report.

The official argued that CMS and agency chief Seema Verma’s breakdowns are an ongoing problem, with HHS Secretary Alex Azar fighting with Verma over the issue.

Politico’s report does not explain why the official was anonymously attributed.

Other officials were more pointed in their criticisms. (RELATED: Trump’s Messaging On Coronavirus Is Unpopular – Even On The Right)

A laboratory operator wearing a protective gear handles patients’ samples in a laboratory of the National Reference Center (CNR) for respiratory viruses at the Institut Pasteur in Paris on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

“A series of incidents over the past 120 days suggest basic communication and coordination between CMS and HHS is lacking, thereby jeopardizing HHS’ mission and undermining public trust,” HHS chief information officer Jose Arrieta wrote in a memo to Azar’s deputy, Eric Hargan.

All of this comes as critics continue to pile on President Donald Trump’s handling of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans in February to prepare for the “expectation that this might be bad,” with Italy emerging as the focal point of the virus in Europe, while Iran and China seeks ways of fighting the spread as confirmed cases grow.

DHS and CMS did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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