After over a week of rumors from sources inside the White House, an apparent Trump-Fauci rift has spilled over into public view.
After being absent from Trump’s coronavirus task force’s public forums, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated in mid-June during a radio interview that he hadn’t spoken to Trump in weeks. He told NPR’s “1A,” which is produced out of WAMU in Washington, D.C. that the last time he talked to Trump was “two weeks ago” and it was about “vaccine development efforts.”
Since then, a report claims Fauci last saw Trump in person at the White House on June 2, according to a report published Friday by The Financial Times after interviewing Fauci. He also said that he hasn’t briefed Trump for at least two months.
Since that time, the two have responded to one another through public interviews and statements often sounding at odds.
On July 12, Trump retweeted to his over 83 million followers a message from former gameshow host Chuck Wollery:
The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 13, 2020
On July 11, the Washington Post reported:
A White House official released a statement saying that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things” and included a lengthy list of the scientist’s comments from early in the outbreak. Those included his early doubt that people with no symptoms could play a significant role in spreading the virus — a notion based on earlier outbreaks that the novel coronavirus would turn on its head. They also point to public reassurances Fauci made in late February, around the time of the first U.S. case of community transmission, that “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”
While similar information was echoed on the same day be CNN as they wrote:
In a statement Saturday, a White House official told CNN 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, citing Fauci’s comments early in the pandemic and linking to past interviews.
Peter Navarrow, The President’s trade and advisor, told the Post “Dr. Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on…Now Fauci is saying that a falling mortality rate doesn’t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening. So when you ask me if I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is only with caution.”
Meanwhile, Trump himself made no attempt to conceal his view of Fauci in recent interviews. Telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” Trump continued, “A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” the president added. “Now they are saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”
Airing similar issues with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, Trump added “I disagree with him.”
Coronavirs task force member Admiral Brett Giroir echoed grievances on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about Fauci’s track record.
“I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right and he also doesn’t necessarily, he admits that, have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view,” Giroir said.