Dear Commons Community,
NBC News is reporting that the White House is seeking to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, as it works to marginalize him and his dire warnings about the shortcomings in the U.S. coronavirus response.
A White House official told NBC News that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things” The official provided NBC News with a lengthy list of past comments by Fauci earlier in the pandemic that did not age well, including Fauci saying in January that coronavirus was “not a major threat” and “not driven by asymptomatic carriers” and Fauci’s comment in March that “people should not be walking around with masks.”
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 himself, other members of the task force and senior White House officials. As Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS News on Sunday, “When you learn more, you change those recommendations. Our recommendations have changed.”
The list circulated by the White House bears striking resemblance to the opposition research that political candidates often circulate to the media about their opponents.
The White House yesterday declined to provide further comment about Fauci. White House spokesman Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday declined to say whether Trump still has confidence in Fauci. Fauci did not immediately return a request for comment.
The White House official’s remark questioning Fauci was first reported by The Washington Post.
The attempt to discredit Fauci comes amid signs of growing tensions between Fauci and the president. Fauci said last week he hadn’t seen Trump in person since June 2 and hadn’t briefed him in person in at least two months. Trump told Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren last week that Fauci has made mistakes and added, “I disagree with him.”
The attacks on Fauci will not work. He has the most credibility in Washington, D.C. for telling the truth while Trump has the least.