May 13, 2020   

Nicole Henderson: 404-939-1594


Phil Ehr, Democratic Nominee for U.S.Congress, Calls for Funding to be Reinstated for Crucial Coronavirus Research

60 Minutes Report Reveals Matt Gaetz’s Conspiracy Theory Helped to Eliminate Vital Coronavirus Research Funding


PENSACOLA, FL — Phil Ehr, Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress calls for the Trump administration to reinstate funding to the New York-based non-profit EcoHealth Alliance for continuing its research in China and elsewhere “aimed to analyze the risk of coronavirus emergence and help in designing vaccines and drugs to protect us from COVID-19 and other coronavirus threats.”

In a recent 60 Minutes segment, CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley reported that a “dishonest and negligent” political disinformation campaign originating on cable television with Matt Gaetz led to the Trump administration’s abrupt cancellation of research that supported all four key priorities in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ strategic plan to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

“Matt Gaetz’s dishonesty is dangerous for our country.  Gaetz falsely claimed the United States granted $3.7 million to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In reality, about $100,000 per year was spent by American scientists to collaborate with Wuhan lab scientists, all approved by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. There is no evidence to support Gaetz’s reckless claim that the novel coronavirus escaped from the Wuhan lab or any other lab. The World Health Organization and Trump’s own office of the Director of National Intelligence have made it clear that the virus is not man-made or genetically modified.

“The Chinese government is indeed culpable for allowing the deadly coronavirus to spread since 2019 without adequate transparency or warning. Halting American collaboration with Chinese scientists, however, is the wrong way to hold Chinese authorities accountable.

“America’s priorities must be to empower our scientists to conduct research anywhere scientific evidence leads them, and to prepare the American people for whatever comes next. So, I’m calling on the Trump administration to immediately reinstate the EcoHealth Alliance grant and reaffirm our commitment to cooperate with scientists anywhere who can help us overcome the pandemic. If we do not restore this funding immediately, we risk more avoidable American carnage now and in the future. 

“Matt Gaetz’s lies and exaggerated blame bring great discredit upon himself and Northwest Florida. The misplaced trust in Gaetz  will result in avoidable suffering, death, and economic deprivation.”

The coronavirus has now infected almost 1.4 million Americans and caused over 82K deaths around the country, according to data collated by the Centers for Disease Control.


About Phil Ehr:

Phil Ehr is a retired U.S. Navy commander and the Democratic nominee challenging Matt Gaetz for Florida’s 1st Congressional District.  Phil is a husband, father, community volunteer, and veteran who rose from Seaman to Commander in a 26-year active duty career.  Phil flew reconnaissance missions in the Cold War, Desert Storm, the Balkans.  He provided strategic advice to senior leaders in Washington, London, and NATO in the post Cold War and post 9/11 eras.  Phil is fighting to restore honor and integrity to Northwest Florida’s representation.