House report: Trump officials, meat companies knew workers at risk

At the height of the pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off health restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly among workers, according to a congressional report released Thursday.

The report by the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said meat companies pushed to keep their plants open even though they knew workers were at high risk of catching the virus. The lobbying led to health and labor officials watering down their recommendations for the industry and culminated in an executive order President Donald Trump issued in the spring of 2020 designating meat plants as critical infrastructure that needed to remain open.