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The White House reportedly overruled the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over a ban on passenger cruises in Florida, in an apparent attempt at appealing to voters in the swing state.
Florida, where Mr Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden have been almost tied in recent polls, typically brings-in billions in income.
But CDC orders, originally introduced in April at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, had banned cruise passenger ships with a “no sail” order, in an attempt to control Covid-19’s spread.
That order was due to expire on Wednesday, which could have seen Florida’s cruise industry restart after a five month absence without an extension.
Making an appeal to the White House coronavirus task force this week, CDC director Robert Redfield reportedly wanted to extend the “no sail” ban until next year, amid coronavirus concerns.
According to Axios, the CDC was instead overruled at that meeting, with the vice president outlining alternatives.
The White House and CDC later announced that the “no sail” ban would be extended up-until October 31, in line with the cruise industry’s self-imposed deadline – but months before Mr Redfield had requested.
It is the latest point of contention between Mr Redfield and the Trump administration, who were described as undermining the CDC director on public health policy.
Mr Trump, meanwhile, has berated the director for promiting mask wearing and cautioning against his claims that a coronavirus vaccine would soon be possible.
Defending the decision, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgensrern denied any political motivation behind the October 31 deadline for cruises, in comments made to Axios.
“The president, the vice president and the task force follow the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country,” he said.
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