REPORT: Trump Admin Clashing With Airline Officials Over Coronavirus

According to new reports, the Trump administration is fighting with airlines and demanding they collect new data from passengers to help track the coronavirus.

Airline officials and executives are pushing back, claiming they can’t meet the requirements right away.

Per CNN, the US aviation industry and the Trump administration are in a pitched battle over the response to the coronavirus pandemic, three sources familiar with recent calls between officials from several government agencies and US airlines have told CNN.

In a series of contentious conversations, agency officials and aviation executives have clashed over the administration’s demand that airlines collect new kinds of data from passengers to help officials track potential virus carriers.

Airlines say they can’t meet that demand right away — a claim some administration officials say they don’t believe, according to several sources who tell CNN the calls have deteriorated so badly that agency officials have issued threats, spat expletives and accused airline executives of lying. It is an “epic battle,” said one source familiar with the talks.

DailyCaller reports White House officials pointed the Daily Caller to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s comments during the president’s meeting with airline executives. Trump, Wolf and Vice President Mike Pence had a coronavirus briefing March 4 with airline CEOs.

Wolf said during the meeting that the administration would be continuing the conversation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The White House reportedly offered to help with financials by delaying taxes. Airlines have proposed to develop an application and a website to help collect data to try and meet the administration halfway, as they are concerned about privacy issues, CNN reported.

The administration allegedly threatened to impose fines if the airlines don’t comply, CNN reported, citing two sources. The alleged White House threats could be implemented as soon as March 14.

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller. There have been 545 people treated for coronavirus in the U.S. as of Monday morning, according to an ongoing New York Times database. At least 22 people with coronavirus in the U.S. have died.