Daily US Times: The White House is taking aim at the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci when coronavirus cases surge in the United States. A White House official told CNN in a statement that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
The official went on to provide a lengthy list of examples, linking Fauci’s past interviews and citing his comments early in the pandemic.
These bullet points, which resembled opposition research on a political opponent, included Fauci downplaying the virus early on and a quote from March when Fauci said, “People should not be walking around with masks,” among other comments.
The White House move comes as President Donald Trump and Fauci are not speaking. The tension between them has grown publicly as the two have responded to one another through interviews and statements.
In a recent series of newspaper and radio interviews, Fauci has at times openly disagreed with Trump.
The nation’s top expert has worked under six US presidents from both parties.
In one interview, Fauci said: “As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”
Fauci, in another interview, responded to the President’s claim that “99%” of coronavirus cases in the United States were “totally harmless,” saying he didn’t know where the President got the number, and suggesting Trump’s interpretation was “obviously not the case.”
Trump has publicly criticizing Dr. Fauci on national television.
Lat week, he said: “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.” The President undermined the public health expert whom Americans say in polls they trust more than the President.
In several recent interviews, Mr Trump openly questioned the advice he’d received from Fauci at the start of the outbreak. “I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him,” the US President said in an interview on Tuesday when questioned about Fauci’s assertion the US is still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic.
One senior White House official told CNN that some officials within the administration do not trust Fauci. Those officials think Fauci doesn’t have the best interest of the President, pointing to interviews where he openly disagrees with what Trump has said.
Other White House officials have told that while they have disagreements with Fauci’s methods, they don’t doubt his motives and that his only concern was public health.
Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman, said Sunday evening that any effort by the White House to sideline or discredit Fauci is “just atrocious.”
Schiff told that such a move “is so characteristic of Donald Trump. He can’t stand the fact that the American people trust Dr. Fauci and they don’t trust Donald Trump — and so he has to tear him down.”
The top Democrat continued: “We need people more than ever to speak truth to power, to be able to level with the American people about what we’re facing with this pandemic, how to get it under control, how to protect ourselves and our families.”
Kathleen Sebelius, who served as secretary of Health and Human Services under Barack Obama administration, told efforts to discredit Fauci and other scientists are “potentially very, very dangerous” as the US and other countries work toward a coronavirus vaccine.
“I think people want to know from the scientists that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective, that it will not do more harm than good,” she said.
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, said there was no scientists-versus-White House narrative.
He provided a statement saying: “We have great faith in the capacity of all of our scientists and doctors on the coronavirus taskforce to impart necessary public health information. People like Admiral (Brett) Giroir, Surgeon General (Jerome) Adams and others are carrying these messages very effectively.”
But Mr. Caputo did not directly answer questions about Fauci.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases across the US has been rising. According to Johns Hopkins University data, more than 135,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
Louisiana has become the latest state to order that masks be worn in public.
John Bel Edwards, the Democratic Governor of the state, also tightened restrictions on restaurants that will no longer be able to serve customers inside and ordered the closure of bars across Louisiana. The measures come into effect on Monday.