President Donald Trump said Monday he has a ‘very good relationship’ with Dr. Anthony Fauci and likes him ‘personally’ even as his aides called him ‘Dr. Faucet’ and distributed a list of statements made early in the pandemic in an attempt to discredit him.
‘I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci. I’ve had for a long time – right from the beginning. I find that to be a very nice person. I don’t always agree with him,’ Trump said during a law enforcement event at the White House.
‘I get along with him very well. I like him personally,’ the president added.
Trump’s comments top off 24 hours of a war of words against the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which saw the president lash out via Twitter, his top social media staffer post a mocking cartoon and his aides send out a document that was likened to opposition research done on an enemy.
Questions about Trump and Fauci’s relationship rose after the doctor didn’t appear at two recent public briefings by the White House Coronavirus Task Force and there were reports the administration sidelined him from doing any interviews with major news outlets.
They also came amid questions as to whose advice President Trump was listening to as he pushed to reopen the country while the number of coronavirus cases around the United States rose.
White House aides defended the president and got in their jabs at Fauci.
‘Sorry, Dr. Faucet! At least you know if I’m going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it’s done publicly — and not cowardly, behind journalists with leaks,’ White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, who is the director of social media for the administration, posted on his official Facebook page a cartoon showing Fauci as a leaking sink.
Scavino’s attack came as the White House released a ‘list of mistakes’ on Fauci’s part and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany referred to the doctor as ‘one member’ of the Coronavirus Task Force in comments that appeared to confirm that Fauci has not briefed Trump in person in two months.
President Donald Trump said he has a ‘very good relationship’ with Dr. Anthony Fauci and likes him ‘personally’
White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, who is the director of social media for the administration, posted on his official Facebook page a cartoon showing Dr. Anthony Fauci as a leaking sink
Dan Scavino, who heads social media for the White House, has the password to President Trump’s Twitter account
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany referred to Dr. Anthony Fauci as ‘one member’ of the Coronavirus Task Force as the administration attacked the infectious disease expert
The White House released a ‘list of mistakes’ made by Dr. Anthony Fauci
THE WHITE HOUSE’S LIST OF DR. FAUCI’S ‘MISTAKES’ – AND WHAT THE FILE DOESN’T TELL YOU
THE WHITE HOUSE DISTRIBUTED A LIST OF WHAT IT CLAIMS ARE DR. ANTHONY FAUCI’S MISTAKES, A COPY OF WHICH WAS BROADCAST BY NBC NIGHTLY NEWS SUNDAY JULY 12
HERE IS WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS SAYS – AND WHAT IT DOESN’T:
NOT A MAJOR THREAT
- Newsmax in early January: ‘Bottom line, we don’t have to worry about this one, right?’
- Fauci: Well, you know, obviously we need to take it seriously and do the kinds of things that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat for the people in the U.S., and this is not something that the citizens of the U.S. right now should be worried about.’
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: First all, the interview was on January 21, not early January. This was the day after the first U.S. diagnosis, in a man who had just returned from Wuhan. The next day, Trump made his first comment on the Virus, telling CNBC: ‘We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.’
On January 28 HHS Secretary Alex Azar said: ‘At this point Americans should not worry for their own safety.’
NO ASYMPTOMATIC SPREAD
- JAN 28: Fauci said, ‘Even if there’s a rare asymptomatic person that might transmit, an epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic spread.’
WHAT WE KNOW NOW: In the first months of the pandemic, scientists in China believed that the virus was rarely asymptomatic, and spreading almost entirely from people with symptoms.
Now, studies in the US and abroad suggest that about 40 percent of people infected with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms, or none at all.
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: The White House miss out where this happened, what was said, and get a key word wrong. HHS Secretary Alex Azar held a briefing – the first – about the virus. Before Fauci spoke, CDC director Robert Redfield said there was Chinese data of asymptomatic spread but that the U.S. was not being given access to it and was unable to assess it.
Fauci’s complete quote is far less definitive – and was about ‘carriers’ not ‘spread.’ What he said was: ‘We would really like to see the data, because if there is asymptomatic transmission it impacts certain policies that you do regarding screening etc.
‘But the one thing historically people need to realize that even if there is asymptomatic transmission, in all the history of respiratory-borne viruses of any type, asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of of outbreaks. The driver of outbreaks is always a symptomatic person. Even if there’s a rare asymptomatic person that might transmit, an epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers.’
DON’T CHANGE YOUR LIFE
- NBC’s Peter Alexander: ‘It’s Saturday morning in America, people are waking up right now with real concerns about this; they want to go to malls, and movies, maybe the gym,as well. Should we be changing our habits, and if so, how?’
- FAUCI on Feb 29th: No. Right now at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW: Before coronavirus swept the nation, only elderly people and those with chronic health conditions that put them at risk for severe infection should stay away from others.
In May, a Columbia University study suggested that if social distancing were adopted widely earlier on, 36,000 fewer Americans would have died of COVID-19.
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: The White House omits the rest of the sentence where Fauci said: ‘This could change. I’ve said that many times, even on this program. You’ve got to watch out because although the risk is low now, you don’t need to change anything you’re doing, when you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to things that could protect you from spread.’
MINISUCULE COMPARED TO FLU
USA TODAY FEB 17TH: ‘Fauci doesn’t want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is ‘just minuscule.’ But he does want them to take precautions against the ‘influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.’
Q. ‘Is the seasonal flu a bigger concern?’
FAUCI: ‘So right now, at the same time people are worrying about going to a Chinese restaurant, the threat is that what we have a pretty bad influenza season, particularly dangerous for our children.’
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: The White House (which spelled ‘minuscule’ incorrectly) ignores the rest of the interview where Fauci said: ‘This could evolve into a global pandemic which would then have significant implications for us. Right now, don’t worry about it. But keep in mind that the coronavirus situation could change. It could be a substantial threat.’
Fauci on CBS March 8th: Right now in the U ple feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences – people keep fiddling with the mask and touching their face.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that all healthy Americans ages two and up wear masks as of June, but for the first several months after coronavirus emerged, both the CDC and WHO continued to assure Americans they did not need to cover their faces.
Now, research suggests that widespread mask wearing helped at least 42 countries contain their outbreaks and saved tens of thousands of lives in the US, and millions globally.
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: The White House omits the rest of what Fauci told 60 Minutes about masks – that at that time there was fear that the public wearing masks would exacerbate supply problems for them for health workers. ‘It could lead to a shortage of masks for the people who really need it,’ he said.
FLIP-FLOPPED ON CURE CAN’T BE WORSE THAN DISEASE
FAUCI IN APRIL: I know it’s difficult. We’re having a lot of suffering and a lot of death. This is inconvenient from an economic and societal standpoint, but we just have to do it.
FAUCI IN MAY: ‘We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences for health. And it’s for that reason why the guidelines are being put forth so states and the cities can start to reenter and reopen.’
WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN’T SAY: The first quote is from March 31, not April, at one of Trump’s now notorious coronavirus task force briefings, whose transcripts are published by the White House.
At the start Trump himself said he was asking people to ‘make sacrifices,’ and said: ‘Every business is being asked to fulfill its patriotic duty. Every community is making fundamental changes to how we live, work, and interact each and every day.’ This was extending the ‘slow the spread’ to April 30. The White House miss the rest of what Fauci said: ‘So let’s all pull together and make sure, as we look forward to the next 30 days, we do it with all the intensity and force that we can.’
So when Fauci spoke to CNBC on May, where the May quote comes from, it was long after the end of the campaign, making it unclear how he had ‘flip-flopped’ if he was simply following the president’s lead on March 31.
Tensions rose after administration officials on Sunday circulated a list of Fauci’s statements on COVID-19 that were made early on in the pandemic, a move that was seen as a way to discredit the doctor, who has been sidelined in the administration.
‘The point of the task force is to be a whole of government – to look at what is best for this country that includes Dr. Fauci’s opinion,’ McEnany told ‘Fox & Friends’ Monday morning.
Trump and Fauci haven’t spoken since June 2, the doctor told the Financial Times last week, which McEnany seemed to confirm.
‘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,’ she noted.
Her comments came after the president launched a twitter attack on Fauci Monday morning and aides spent the weekend launching what was seen on an attack of the doctor’s credibility.
The White House circulated a document noting that ‘several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things,’ first reported by The Washington Post but obtained by several other news outlets including The New York Times, ABC News, and NBC News. The document focused on statements Fauci made early in the pandemic, when much about the virus remained unknown, and was likened to opposition research done on a political enemy.
But, in a sign the move has backfired, a senior administration official argued it wasn’t a White House memo on Fauci but a document that was merely sent out in response to reporters’ questions.
‘There wasn’t a memo about Dr. Fauci,’ the senior administration official told DailyMail.com. ‘These were answers in response to questions. Not a document produced by the White House.’
McEnany made the same argument at her press briefing on Monday.
‘We were asked a very specific question by the Washington Post and that question was President Trump noted that Dr. Fauci had made some mistakes and we provided a direct answer to what was a direct question,’ she said. She did not address why the document was sent to other news outlets.
‘We provided a direct response to a direct question. And that’s about it .And to the notion that there’s opposition research and that there’s Fauci versus the president -couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. Fauci and the president have always had a very good working relationship,’ she added.
Trump doubled down on the attacks Monday morning, retweeting a series of bizarre claims from supporters, including one that Fauci supports ID cards ‘to go shopping’ and a claim from game show host Chuck Woolery that charges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with lying about the coronavirus.
Trump, in recent days, has shown his irritation with Fauci. The president told Fox News last week that Fauci has ‘made a lot of mistakes.’
Trump has pushed the country to move past the coronavirus and return to normal life. His stance puts him at odds with many fellow Republicans, who have asked Americans to wear masks amid the rising cases, and with medical experts, including some in his administration who have warned about the spike in infections. Even most Americans appear to disagree with the president as polls show him receiving low marks on his handling of the pandemic.
Fauci, too, has given a different message.
‘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,’ he told FiveThirtyEight last week.
Another thing likely irritating the president is Fauci garners a higher approval rating than him.
A New York Times/Siena College poll out last month showed that 67 per cent of Americans trusted Fauci when it came to the coronavirus but only 26 per cent trusted the president.
One of the retweets from the president on Monday included a bizarre conspiracy theory that Fauci supports ‘an ID card to go shopping.’ The original tweet was from Dr. Mark Young – a conservative podcast host who calls himself doctor but it’s unclear if he has a medical degree.
‘So based on Dr. Fauci and the Democrats, I will need an ID card to go shopping but not to vote?,’ Young tweeted. It’s unclear where his claim originated or what it’s about.
Young co-hosts a podcast with Woolery, a longtime Trump supporter who also had the president’s attention Monday morning.
Trump retweeted Woolery’s claim the CDC, the media, Democrats and doctors are doing this to keep the president from wining a second term. He offers no proof of his allegations nor does he detail what the lies are.
‘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,’ Woolery wrote and Trump retweeted.
Woolery shot to fame in the 1980s as the host of various game shows, including a stint as the original host of Wheel of Fortune and the original incarnation of Love Connection. He has no medical background.
He’s also claimed his support of the president has ruined his career.
‘I have pretty much destroyed my career by openly supporting Trump and letting all know, I am a conservative. Painful at times, but true. After all is said and done. It was my choice and I can live with it. I would do it all again,’ he tweeted in November 2019.
Trump also retweeted Woolery’s support for reopening schools this fall, which the president has been pushing for as another way to help the economy. The argument being if kids can get back in classes then parents can return to work.
‘There is so much evidence, yes scientific evidence, that schools should open this fall. It’s worldwide and it’s overwhelming. BUT NO,’ Woolery wrote.
Woolery’s tweet matches some of Trump’s thinking on the coronavirus.
The president has claimed Democrats are using the pandemic to their advantage in the November election.
Last week, during a push to reopen schools this fall, Trump accused Democrats with playing politics on keeping kids out of classrooms.
‘We have to open our schools. Open our schools. Stop this nonsense. We open our schools,’ the president said during an event with Hispanic leaders in the Rose Garden of the White House.
He argued Democrats want to keep schools closed to help them in the general election this November. The decision to reopen schools lays in the hands of the nation’s governors, who are a mix of both parties.
‘We have to get our schools open and stop this political nonsense and it’s only political nonsense. It’s politics. They don’t want to open because they think it will help them on November 3. I think it’s going to hurt them on November 3. Open your schools,’ he said.
Trump has turned his focus to the economy in recent weeks even as coronavirus cases spike throughout the nation. He has pushed states to reopen but several of them are walking back that process – reclosing bars, restaurants and gyms – as the number of coroanvirus cases is on the rise.
The president has barely acknowledged the disease in recent days.
He was in Florida on Friday – a state that has become the new epicenter for the pandemic – and had no coronavirus-related events. He was briefed on drug smuggling, spoke at a roundtable with Hispanic leaders and attended a fundraiser.
Florida, on Sunday, reported a record high in daily infections for the virus with 15,300 new cases on its books.
On Wednesday the president is scheduled to go to Atlanta but is not scheduled to visit CDC headquarters. Instead he’ll deliver remarks on infrastructure.
Trump has kept his focus on the economy, which he believes is key to his re-election. Voters give him high marks on that issue.
But Americans have expressed their disapproval with the president’s handling of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump started his week by retweeting a series of bizarre conspiracy theories
President Trump retweeted a claim from game show host Chuck Woolery that charges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with lying about the coronavirus
A new poll ABC News/Ipsos poll out Friday found 67 percent disapproved of Trump’s response to the pandemic and only 33 percent approved.
It’s the highest level of dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the virus. Additionally his presidential approval rating hit a low of 33 per cent.
The president has repeatedly expressed his belief the coronavirus will ‘just disappear’ even as more than 3.3 millions Americans have been infected by the disease and more than 137,000 have died.
Admiral Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary with the Health and Human Services department, said Sunday he expects the number of deaths from the coronavirus to rise
But some of the president’s own medical experts on Sunday expressed concern with the rising number of cases.
Admiral Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary with the Health and Human Services department, and Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, both said in appearances on the Sunday shows that the spike in infections has them worried.
‘We’re all very concerned about the rise in cases, no doubt about that,’ Giroir said on ABC’s ‘This Week.’
‘We do expect deaths to go up,’ he said. ‘If you have more cases, more hospitalizations, we do expect to see that over the next two or three weeks before this turns around.’
Adams, who wore a mask during his interview on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ said the administration is working with states on the response to the rise in cases.
‘Please don’t mistake me for saying we’re happy with where we are,’ he said. ‘What I’m saying is that we are working with states to make sure we can respond to this incredibly contagious disease. And part of that, again, is making sure we’re slowing the spread, right? People understand the importance of wearing face coverings and good hand hygiene and staying home when they can.’