CDC director’s only meeting with ‘parents’ on school reopening was actually with left-wing activists, new documents reveal

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky met with “parents” only once prior to releasing school reopening guidance last year. But even that one meeting appears to have been a ruse.

It turns out those “parents” were really left-wing activists, including transgender advocates and others from organizations funded by Democratic megadonors, according to an explosive new report by Fox News.

While Walensky frequently claimed the CDC consulted parents to discuss their needs before issuing the guidance, records show her calendar only listed one 30-minute Zoom session.

With stunning irony, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten used the event to take shots at conservative news outlets that were reporting on the CDC’s ties to teachers’ unions at the time.  

While tweeting a screenshot of a CDC email advertising the event in May 2021, Weingarten commented that conservative outlets “are probably never going to let their readers know that the CDC met with parents too.” 

However, the “parents” who attended the meeting were almost exclusively liberal activists, according to unredacted emails obtained by Americans for Public Trust as part of their FOIA lawsuit against the CDC, which were obtained by Fox News.  

In fact, the documents show Walensky’s private Feb. 10, 2021 roundtable featured five participants, including Roz Keith, the founder and executive director of Stand With Trans, an organization that advocates for the parents of transgender children. 

“We are committed to dismantling the barriers faced by our community based on racism, sexism, queer-antagonism, and other discriminatory factors,” the group’s website states. “These barriers include recent legislation like denying trans people from using the bathroom of their gender, barring trans people from participating in sports of their gender, and banning schools from teaching about LGBTQ acceptance.” 

Also in the meeting were two representatives of MomsRising, a progressive group that advocates for issues ranging from “workplace justice” to gun safety: Angelica Gonzalez and executive director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. 

Publicly available grant records indicate MomsRising is financed by Democratic megadonors, having received $1 million each from George Soros’ Open Society Policy Center and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss’ Berger Action Fund in 2020. 

Elena Hung, president and co-founder of Little Lobbyists, also participated in the meeting. Little Lobbyists is an organization that seeks “to protect and expand the rights of children who have complex medical needs and disabilities through advocacy, education, and outreach.” 

Hung also serves as national co-chair of Health Care Voter, which purports to hold politicians accountable for their votes on healthcare issues. Health Care Voter is affiliated with the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a progressive nonprofit that is part of at a massive liberal dark money network managed by Washington D.C.- based consulting firm Arabella Advisors. 

“Since taking the reins of the CDC, Dr. Walensky has prioritized everything but following the science,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News. 

“First, she colluded with the teachers’ unions to keep our schools closed, and now we learn that her ‘parent’ meeting was nothing more than placating the demands of liberal activists from dark money groups. Maybe if the CDC spent less time appeasing activists and unions, kids could have returned to school faster and wouldn’t be facing devastating losses in learning.” 

CDC press secretary Jason McDonald told Fox News Walensky and other CDC scientists “attended dozens of engagements with a diverse range of groups and advocacy organizations ahead of the release of the COVID-19 schools’ guidance. 

“CDC experts met with parents at three national PTA-hosted events on August 7, 2020, January 4, 2021, and February 12, 2021, where parents could ask CDC experts questions about the guidance and how to keep their children safe at school,” McDonald said, adding their experts fielded “17,276 calls and email messages from Americans asking about COVID-19 and schools between March 1, 2020, and February 11, 2021.” 

However, Walensky’s internal calendar shows just the one “parents” meeting. Two days later, Walensky released the school guidance. 

In contrast, records indicate the CDC worked very closely with teachers’ unions to create and update the guidance before it was issued. 

Indeed, AFT president Weingarten, who said Fox News would “probably never report on the parents’ meeting,” had instant access to Walensky and other high-level CDC officials. Teachers’ unions also influenced last-minute changes to the school-reopening guidance, Fox News previously reported. 

Records also show Kelly Trautner, AFT senior director of health issues, emailed Walensky just one day before the CDC publicly posted the guidance. Her email suggested the CDC should insert the line, “In the event high-community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” 

Walensky and the CDC promptly complied, updating the language of their guidance just before it was publicly posted.  

The emails also show both the AFT and the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, were given a copy of the guidance before the CDC made it public. The CDC’s acting associate director for communications at the time, Christopher Jones, even messaged Weingarten and Becky Pringle, NEA’s president, thanking them for their continued partnership and input. 

Previous reports from the New York Post also detailed emails from Americans for Public Trust showing additional coordination between the White House and the influential teachers’ unions on school reopenings.