The White House is said to be irked by the country’s leading infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci having given a wide-ranging interview in which he ‘appears to play politics’ on the coronavirus outbreak just days before the general election.
Despite having not been part of any recent White House press conferences on the pandemic for many months nor having spoken to President Trump directly since the start of October, the doctor has laid bare his frustrations with how the current administration is dealing with the disease.
The president now favors hearing from a doctor with a different point of view – Dr. Scott Atlas.
The country’s leading infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has given a wide-ranging interview to the Washington Post on the coronavirus response
‘We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,’ Fauci said. ‘All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.’
Fauci noted in the interview with the Washington Post that Joe Biden’s campaign ‘is taking it seriously from a public health perspective’, whereas Trump is ‘looking at it from a different perspective. Namely that of the economy and reopening the country.’
President Trump has repeated asserted that the country is ’rounding the turn’ on the virus but Fauci disagrees saying the country may soon surpass 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day in what is likely to be a long and potentially deadly winter.
On Friday, 98,000 new infections were recorded across the country with 1,000 deaths a day reported on both Wednesday and Thursday. More than 230,000 have died since the start of the pandemic
Fauci has not spoken to Trump for almost a month and is no longer part of any public press conferences on the subject with Trump preferring Dr. Scott Atlas
Infections are currently climbing in 42 states while the president is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticizing public officials and medical professionals who are trying to beat it back.
Trump falsely said doctors earn more money when their patients die of the disease, building on his past criticism of medical experts such as Fauci.
At one point, Dr. Fauci was the face of the coronavirus response task force team who would host daily briefings on the outbreak.
He has since described the response as cases surge as ‘disjointed’, with the White House solely focussed on getting a vaccine as quickly as possible, despite it not necessarily being the ‘silver bullet’ that completely ends the pandemic.
Fauci revealed to the Post the coronavirus task force meets far less frequently now and has a more limited influence on the president’s decisions as he becomes more focused on reopening the country.
‘Right now, the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly,’ he said.
Fauci has described the response to the coronavirus as cases surge as ‘disjointed’
At one point during the Post interview, Fauci checked himself and said that he needed to exercise caution in how he was speaking else he could be blocked conducting interviews in the future.
‘The last time I spoke to the president was not about any policy; it was when he was recovering in Walter Reed, he called me up,’ Fauci said while revealing that the president has a new favorite – Scott Atlas.
Atlas, a neuroradiologist, is now Trump’s favored adviser on the pandemic because he offered guidance that more closely align with Trump’s own views which is to reopen the country and let the virus spread among young healthy people.
It is not something that Fauci can agree on.
‘I have real problems with that guy,’ Fauci said. ‘He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.’
There is clearly no love lost between Fauci and Atlas either. On Saturday night Atlas posted a tweet mocking Fauci taking aim at him for giving an interview to the Post.
‘#Insecurity #EmbarrassingHimself #Exposed #CantThrowABall #NoTimeForPolitics,’ he tweeted.
There is clearly no love lost between Fauci and Atlas either. On Saturday night Atlas posted a tweet mocking Fauci taking aim at him for giving an interview to the Post
The tweet also mocked Fauci’s ball throwing skills. He is pictured here throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game between the Yankees and Washington Nationals in July
Fauci noted that he has a lot of respect for chief of staff Mark Meadows who was direct and forthright in his answers who said on CNN last weekend that the administration was not going to control the pandemic.
‘I tip my hat to him for admitting the strategy,’ he said. ‘He is straightforward in telling you what’s on his mind. I commend him for that.’
White House spokesman Judd Deere did not take kindly to any of Fauci’s remarks to the Post.
‘Fauci ‘knows the risks from the coronavirus today are dramatically lower than they were only a few months ago,’ Deere said.
‘It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,’ he continued.
President Trump appear to more closely align with White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas who wants a reopening of the country and to let the virus spread among young people
‘As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp.’
The president has recently taken to mocking Fauci and at a recent rally essentially called him an idiot.
‘People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong,’ Trump said as he recounted how the doctor one said face masks were not necessary before flipping on the issue.
Nevertheless, the White House does not seem to want to make any spat with Fauci public given his overall popularity.
However, the doctor is not revered among Trump supporters and Fauci has also told how he has experienced a rise in harassment and threats from members of the public.
Dr Anthony Fauci spoke out earlier in October against a new campaign ad that included a clip of the doctor (pictured) appearing to praise Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic
A low point between Fauci and Trump was reached last month after the Trump campaign appeared to take the doctor’s works out of context for a political advert that appeared to show him praising the president’s response to the pandemic.
The Trump campaign used his image without his permission and twisted his words to make it seem like he was endorsing the president.
‘Together we rose to meet the challenge, protecting our seniors, getting them life-saving drugs in record time, sparing no expense. President Trump tackled the virus head on, as leaders should.’ Fauci is then shown saying: ‘I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more,’ creating the impression he is referring to Trump.
Fauci said his words were taken out of context from a statement he made in March.
‘In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate,’ he said in a statement.
‘The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials.’
Trump responded to Fauci’s remarks in a tweet saying the ad includes ‘Dr Fauci’s own words’, after his campaign maintained the clip was ‘accurate’
The 79-year-old doctor has frequently had to walk a fine line in attempting to clarify – or correct – the president’s often incautious assertions about the disease or the treatments and vaccines being developed against Covid-19.
Fauci has at times aroused Trump’s ire, as when the president in April retweeted a message containing the hashtag #FireFauci – before publicly insisting the doctor was doing a great job.
Overall, the anonymous sources have told the Post that the White House is essentially overwhelmed by the pandemic and feel completely helpless as they wrestle with the complete inability to curb its spread while also attempting see the economy bounce back, all the while promoting the president’s re-election.
‘We need to plan now for how we turn the corner in 2021, and one thing we should be doing is laying the foundation to get public schools reopened in the late winter or early spring,’ said Trump’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Scott Gottlieb. ‘If we don’t plan now, we’ll lose the opportunity to prioritize opening what should be most important to us, just as we lost that chance in the fall because we didn’t plan appropriately this summer.’
Fauci’s warnings on how the virus will proceed have been blunt despite Trump continuing to hold maskless rallies and insisting that life is returning to normal.
The 79-year-old doctor has frequently had to walk a fine line in attempting to clarify – or correct – the president’s often incautious assertions about the disease or its treatments
Trump told reporters he was not concerned that supporters who flock to his events might contract the virus, even though he, his family and many White House staffers have battled the disease in recent weeks.
The president criticized Democratic officials in Minnesota for enforcing social-distancing rules that limited his rally to 250 people. ‘It’s a small thing, but a horrible thing,’ he said.
No longer speaking to the president daily, Fauci believes it is his duty to conduct as many interviews as possible with local media in cities across the nation.
‘The thing we can do is to try to get the message out,’ Fauci said.
‘All of a sudden, they didn’t like what the message was because it wasn’t what they wanted to do anymore,’ Fauci explains. ‘They needed to have a medical message that was essentially consistent with what they were saying.
‘And one of the ways to say the outbreak is over is to say it’s really irrelevant because it doesn’t make any difference. All you need to do is prevent people from dying and protect people in places like the nursing homes. The only medical person who sees the president on a regular basis is Scott Atlas.’
‘He insists he’s not somebody who’s pushing for herd immunity,’ Fauci says of Atlas. ‘He says, ‘That’s not what I mean.’ [But] everything he says — when you put them together and stitch them together — everything is geared toward the concept of “it doesn’t make any difference if people get infected. It’s a waste of time. Masks don’t work. Who cares,” and the only thing you need to do is protect the vulnerable, like people in the nursing homes,’ Fauci said.
Fauci said that one major concern is that many who contract the virus often suffer from long term health problems.
The latest statistics appear to show the virus is moving in the wrong direction with infections currently climbing in 42 states
‘The idea of this false narrative that if you don’t die, everything is hunky dory is just not the case,’ he said. ‘But to say, “Let people get infected, it doesn’t matter, just make sure people don’t die” — to me as a person who’s been practicing medicine for 50 years, it doesn’t make any sense at all.’
‘Even though we’re getting challenged with more cases, the medical system is much better prepared to take care of seriously ill people, so that’s the reason why I think the surge of cases is going to be counterbalanced by better experience,’ Fauci said to the Post.
Fauci expressed concern over the possible surge that is likely to come this winter that not all areas of the country will be able to handle – especially in Midwestern and Western states who have a limited number of intensive care beds and nurses.
‘It’s much more about some of the states like Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, where … they never had a pretty good reserve of intensive care beds and things like that. I hope they’ll be okay, but it’s still a risk that, as you get more surging, they’re going to run out of capacity,’ Fauci said.