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Dr. Anthony Fauci found a wave of support as Democrats rushed to defend him following a statement from the White House on the times he was “wrong” on the coronavirus.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was called out in a statement released by a White House official over the weekend, according to a report in The Washington Post which claimed the Trump administration has sought to “sideline” the scientist in recent weeks.
Fauci, one of the top members of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, has reportedly not briefed the president since early June and the White House has “scuttled some of his planned TV appearances,” according to The Washington Post.
His recent criticisms of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic have also been an issue, as Trump himself commented last week to Fox News host Sean Hannity that Fauci “is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
The 79-year-old scientist is “never in the Oval [Office] anymore,” an anonymous senior administration official told the Washington Post of the career civil servant who cannot be fired by Trump. The Post noted that Fauci’s friends have indicated he has no plans to leave his post and, according to the newspaper’s administration source, Trump is not planning to try to get rid of him.
But the paper reported that a statement from an administration official stated that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
According to The Post, this “included a lengthy list of the scientist’s comments from early in the outbreak.”
Those included his early doubt that people with no symptoms could play a significant role in spreading the virus — a notion based on earlier outbreaks that the novel coronavirus would turn on its head. They also point to public reassurances Fauci made in late February, around the time of the first U.S. case of community transmission, that “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”
The article offered more details about the “deteriorating relationship” between Fauci and Trump, noting how his scheduled media appearances, which must be approved by the White House, were cancelled following remarks he made last week in which he disputed some of Trump’s claims as a “false narrative.”
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff called the White House response “atrocious” during an interview on CNN, which claimed that White House officials “are raising questions about Dr. Anthony Fauci for openly disagreeing with President Donald Trump in favor of science.”
The Post added that the medical expert’s supporters acknowledged his “early mistakes” but said they were because of “challenges posed by a new, largely unknown pathogen.”
“They agree he downplayed the possibility of the virus spreading from person to person in January and early February even as it quietly seeded itself in communities on the East and West coasts,” the Washington Post article stated. “And, like several other public health officials, he initially said the public shouldn’t wear masks, but now strongly recommends it, especially when individuals can’t maintain distances of at least six feet from other people.”
NBC News also came to Fauci’s defense by publishing an article headlined “White House seeks to discredit Fauci amid coronavirus surge.”
“Many of the past statements the White House is criticizing Fauci for are ones that were based on the best available data at the time and were widely echoed by Trump and other officials,” the sub-headline read.
“The White House is seeking to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, as President Donald Trump works to marginalize him and his dire warnings about the shortcomings in the U.S. coronavirus response,” the NBC News report stated, adding:
In a remarkable broadside by the Trump administration against one of its own, a White House official told NBC News on Sunday that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
“I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100% right, and he also doesn’t necessarily — and he admits that — have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view,” coronavirus task force member. Admiral Brett Giroir, said on “Meet the Press” Sunday.
The liberal media and several Democrats quickly came to Fauci’s defense.
“You’d think they’d have more important things to do,” Democrats in the House Homeland Security Committee tweeted.
“Trump has muzzled the most trusted doctor and scientist in the country,” NBC News analyst and former U.S. Senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill, tweeted. “Now they are sending out oppo on him to try and make him look bad. Outrageous. No wonder we lead the world in Covid cases and deaths. And the virus rages on.”
“Tragic and utterly predictable. Fauci deserves great credit for hanging in there as long as he has despite fragging from WH. He is a true patriot,” David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to President Obama, wrote on Twitter.
Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau accused the White House of “orchestrating a hit job” on Fauci.
The White House orchestrating a hit job on one of the country’s most respected public health officials in the middle of a pandemic isn’t just dangerous and repugnant – it’s one of the politically stupider moves they’ve made in a long time.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 12, 2020
Shivving someone as trusted and beloved by the public as Fauci will now serve as one of the more glaring, memorable examples of Trump’s catastrophic response to the pandemic, and it’s exactly the kind of ego-fueled move that’s turning voters away from Trump.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 12, 2020
Favreau’s tweets did get some sarcastic pushback.
Dr. Fauci with Mother Teresa. pic.twitter.com/mHNz8mIPep
— PJK (@Reality_HereNow) July 12, 2020
CNN’s Jim Sciutto and even Rosie O’Donnell also chimed in to defend Fauci.
free fauci from Donalds wrath https://t.co/LytvrlCUOD
— ROSIE (@Rosie) July 12, 2020
Predictably, the knives are out for Dr. Fauci, a supremely qualified expert on outbreaks whose sin seems to be speaking truth to power and consistently outshining the president in trustworthiness. https://t.co/wmXsOfrsUw
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 12, 2020
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