Trump officials actively lobbied to deny states money for vaccine rollout last fall

Much of the lobbying push came from Paul Mango, the former deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services. He argued, repeatedly, that states hadn’t demonstrated they needed additional funding because, at least as of last October, they hadn’t spent the $200 million that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent to states in September.

Far from denying his efforts, Mango doubled down in an interview with STAT — and even accused states of pressing for the money to bolster their empty tax coffers.

“A lot of them had shut down their economies and they weren’t getting tax revenue,” he said.

“I’m sure they could use money — that’s not in dispute — what’s in dispute is whether they needed money given all they hadn’t used to actually administer vaccines,” Mango added, suggesting that his lobbying efforts were an attempt to protect taxpayers from wasteful government spending.