‘Show us anyone besides him’: Fauci distrust at the core of ‘vaccine-hesitant’ focus group

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A focus group of vaccine-hesitant Republican voters from across the country said they want a whole lot less of Dr. Anthony Fauci and a whole lot more of the facts.

Speaking with pollster Frank Luntz for a focus group put together by the de Beaumont Foundation, the participants — all of them Republicans of various ages and races — expressed a shared distaste for the Biden administration’s top coronavirus “expert.”

After the conclusion of the focus group, Luntz posted a tweet in which he summed up their feelings with a few short words: “Show us anyone besides Dr. Fauci.”

He also shared clips from the focus group to his Twitter feed, though for some reason he didn’t share a clip of the participants talking about Fauci.

Below is one clip:

According to The Washington Post, every single participant “said they preferred hearing from politicians over the medical expert, who has been pilloried by conservative media for months over his coronavirus warnings.”

Note how the Post tried to blame Republicans’ negative perception of Fauci on “conservative media.”

Brian Castrucci, an epidemiologist who reportedly leads the de Beaumont Foundation, more broadly blamed the group’s perception of Fauci on politics.

“The data have shown that unfortunately Dr. Fauci has been politicized, and we need different messengers, because even the right messages coming from the wrong messengers aren’t always helpful,” he said.

Not included in the Post’s piece was a single mention of the so-called “expert’s” numerous missteps, false statements and contradictions.

The Post also didn’t delve into allegations that Fauci’s bizarre rhetoric and behavior serve as a disincentive for Americans to obtain the coronavirus vaccine.

For instance, it was reported earlier this week that, despite the doctor being fully vaccinated from the coronavirus, he himself still refuses to participate in most indoor events and activities.

“He’ll order takeout from restaurants but though indoor dining is permitted in many areas, he won’t since indoor eating is considered a high-risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fauci is not only avoiding dining in, he’s not going to any indoor crowded spaces such as movie theaters,” Yahoo News confirmed Monday.

And just last week he recommended that other vaccinated Americans follow his lead and also continue abstaining from living a normal life.

“It’s still not OK [to participate in normal activities outside the home] for the simple reason that the level of infection, the dynamics of infection in the community, are still really disturbingly high,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC.

The remarks earned him a condemnation from Johns Hopkins health policy expert Dr. Marty Makary.

“You’re hearing a lot of mixed messaging and as a result, a lot of the medical officials are losing credibility and we’re seeing the infection right now in five states among young people, and I think that’s because a lot of the guidance has lost credibility,” Makary said the next day on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”

He added, “The data is in and the risk of transmission from [studies] is negligible. And I can tell you as a doctor, you’ve got to give people something to look forward to. If you just tell them they can’t do stuff, it’s not right. You gotta tell them how to do things safely and be in step with what they are going to do.”

Listen:

Makary’s point was that it’s probably smarter to incentivize vaccinations, not disincentivize them. However, it’s an argument that’s fallen on deaf ears, and much to every America’s detriment.

“Although more than half of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, more than 40 percent of Republicans have consistently told pollsters they’re not planning to be vaccinated — a group that could threaten efforts to tamp down the virus’s spread, public health officials fear,” according to the Post.

It’s not clear if their hesitancy will ever disappear so long as Biden administration officials like Fauci continue to lead people into believing there’s no point in getting vaccinated.

Now, while the focus group participants shared distaste for Fauci, they conversely shared great appreciation for former President Donald Trump and the work his administration had done to produce the coronavirus vaccine.

“I think they should have called the vaccine the Trump vaccine, because he’s literally the man that did it. He pushed aside all the red tape and forced everybody to get their stuff together and actually create the damn thing, so why not give him the credit?” one participant said.

He added that he was annoyed by President Joe Biden trying to take credit for the vaccine. Another participant expressed the same feeling.

“If Biden was saying ‘hey, Donald Trump did this’ instead of saying ‘oh that guy’ — have some respect for President Trump — maybe I could consider going out and getting that vaccine, because there would be respect,” he said.

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Vivek Saxena

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