Adm. Brett Giroir: CDC Can Talk to Teachers Unions About School Guidance But Can’t Talk to States About Mask Guidance

By Melanie Arter | May 18, 2021 | 10:29am EDT
 President Joe Biden speaks as he tours the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 19, 2021. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks as he tours the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 19, 2021. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Adm. Brett Giroir, former coronavirus testing czar for the Trump administration, told Fox News on Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped the ball when it came to messaging about mask guidance and coordinating with the White House.

“My advice is get your messaging straight, and I think what you’re seeing with all the confusion is a result of the poor messaging and the poor coordination with the White House. The CDC did a 180-degree turn around within 24-hour period. They didn't talk to governors or state officials,” Giroir told "America's Newsroom."

“They can talk to the teachers’ unions about school guidance, but they can't talk to states and local officials about mask guidance, and then third, their language was all wrong. They said what you can and can't do, and the CDC doesn't get to say that. What the CDC should have said is it is safe for people who are vaccinated, not that they can or can't. It was really double speak,” he said.

“Their guidance says you can go unmasked unless somebody tells you, you have to be masked. So it’s very confusing to individuals, and I think we're seeing this. I agree with Surgeon General Adams completely,” Giroir said.

He said he supports CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s “reorganization of the agency to make sure that there are clear lines of communication.” 

“You can't have the CDC doing things autonomously. It should go through the director, but it should be coordinated with the White House. The CDC, no one there was elected to office. The CDC director is not even confirmed by the Senate. It should be coordinated at the White House leadership level or else you’re gonna get complete disaster like we did with messaging last week,” Giroir said.

He said the CDC should be “more externally facing,” and it needs to improve internal communication.

|“There needs to be a consolidation and needs to be new blood. So I do support that,” Giroir said.

The admiral criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for announcing that that Radio City Music Hall can reopen fully but only for vaccinated audience members.

“Now, on the liberty side of me, I do believe businesses should have a lot of leeway in what they do with their own businesses. This makes no public health sense. If Radio City Music Hall wants to protect their employees, get their employees vaccinated. Aside from that, it should be a state or local decision. Do you need masks or don't you need masks?” Giroir said.

“It shouldn't be just business by business because what are you trying to do? You’re trying to step in the way of the public health officials, and this is going to be temporary. What happens in November when our deaths from influenza are going to outpace our deaths from COVID? Do you have to show an influenza passport? How about any other kinds of passports? So this is a very slippery slope,” he said.

“I would not go there, and number two, this is going to be short lived. I do believe the pandemic is on the way out. We need to continue getting vaccinated, and all this is going to be a moot point,” Giroir added.

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