On Sunday, CNN reported that Trump and Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, were not on speaking terms, following weeks of rising tensions. "Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes," Trump remarked last week. Now CNN reports that the Trump administration is making a concerted effort to discredit Fauci, with aides attempting to divert attention from the continued rise in cases in certain states. Last week, Fauci notably said that Trump's claim that 99 perecent of coronavirus cases turned out to be "harmless" was not true.
The Trump administration has put a big emphasis on the economic importance of reopening the country, and on Monday Trump even retweeted a comment from game show host Chuck Woolery that asserted "everyone is lying" about COVID-19, including the CDC. On Saturday, a White House official told CNN "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things." The statement provided then highlighted a list of examples of when Fauci was wrong, although a lot of his comments were from early on in the pandemic when less was known about COVID-19.
This comes just as the Washington Post reports Trump has now made over 20,000 misleading or false claims as president.
The Hill reports that White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnay has denied that the White House is making an effort to sideline Fauci. "The point of the task force is to be a whole of government look at what is best for this country," said McEnany during an appearance on Fox & Friends on Monday. "Dr. Fauci is one member of a team, but rest assured, his viewpoint is represented and the information gets to the president through the task force."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, Adm. Brett Giroir, the federal official in charge of coronavirus testing, said Fauci is "not 100 percent right." McEnany echoed those comments on Monday, and said that Giroir "hit the nail on the head." She added, "Dr. Fauci represents one viewpoint in the administration and he looks at things from a public health standpoint."
While Giroir and McEnay have denied the White House is attempting to sideline Fauci, some notable officials have already openly and directly criticized him. Trade adviser Peter Navarro, for one, said Fauci "has a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on." Despite these claims, polls have shown that the American public mostly trusts Fauci.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who was previously called "sleazy" and "totally biased" by the president, has criticized Trump's treatment of Fauci. "Dr. Fauci is the most respected voice in the country on how we ought to be dealing with this pandemic," he said. "And to be trying to sideline him, or diminish him, or discredit him is just atrocious."
Joe Biden also weighed in, saying Trump "needs to spend less time playing golf and more time listening to experts like Dr. Fauci":
See what Twitter had to say about the White House's efforts below.