Biden Admin Spent Tens Of Thousands On Media Training For CDC Director Walensky

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Biden administration spent more than $25,000 and authorized the use of tens of thousands of dollars more on media training for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky, Politico reported Wednesday.

Internal CDC expense authorization filings obtained by Politico show the Biden team spent $25,750 starting in October 2021 to improve Walensky’s media and management skills. An additional $30,500 was authorized to be spent on her going forward, according to Politico’s West Wing Playbook.

Longtime Democratic consultant Mandy Grunwald was reportedly hired for the job at a rate of $500 per hour. Wellesley Partners was also contracted at a rate of around $500 per hour for media training.

The stated training objective was to “assist [Walensky’s] team in crafting clear language to communicate CDC’s public health guidance and coach Dr. Walensky to effectively deal with television interviews and other public communications,” according to Politico. A spokesperson for Walensky told Politico that “CDC directors have long received media coaching to ensure they are effectively and clearly communicating to public health partners and the American people – elements vital to disease outbreak responses.”

The federal government has executive branch coaching programs available for use at no cost, but the CDC opted to use the expensive private sector options instead. (RELATED: Setbacks, Inconsistencies Mount For CDC Under Walensky)

Critics have frequently targeted Walensky for poor communication skills, alleging that the CDC has been unclear in its guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Polls indicate that an increasing number of Americans don’t view the agency as trustworthy.