President Trump and Fauci don’t speak as coronavirus pandemic worsens

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“Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he made a lot of mistakes,” Trump said this week, undermining the public health expert that Americans say in the polls, they have more confidence than the president.

When the coronavirus task force met at the Ministry of Education this week, Fauci was asked to join the phone instead of appearing in person.

While conducting a flurry of newspaper and radio interviews, he stopped appearing on major American television networks.”I have a reputation, as you probably understand, for telling the truth at all times and not for making sugar,” Fauci told the Financial Times this week. “And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on TV a lot lately. “

Trump has long irritated Fauci’s unspoken reproaches and overt corrections to his anomalies. But at the start of the epidemic, he remained generally silent, realizing that he had little to gain by undermining someone with widespread credibility among the American people.

Instead, he said the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases was a “major television star for all the right reasons” – an outside compliment that nevertheless signaled to some allies from Trump, who doesn’t like being upgraded or undermined, from brewing issues.

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These suspicions were confirmed in mid-April, when signs of discord began to appear more publicly. Trump retweeted a conservative activist who used the hashtag #FireFauci to complain about the doctor, although the White House later insisted that Trump had no plans to fire him and that “Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump. ”

But a month later, as states began to reopen – often without respecting the parameters designed by Fauci and other members of the task force and issued by the White House – Trump began to escalate his public criticism.

“He wants to play all sides of the equation,” Trump said of Fauci in mid-May.

Yet even then the two men said their relationship was not contentious. Officials confirmed that this was mostly true. They did not play huge shouting or sniping matches. But Trump’s irritation with being publicly undermined was always evident in conversations with his friends and colleagues, when he complained that Fauci did not appear to be on his side.

In early June, Trump and Fauci largely discontinued the engagements in person. Fauci – who has advised all presidents since Ronald Reagan – told the Financial Times this week that he last saw Trump on June 2 in the White House and hadn’t personally informed him for at least two months.

Meanwhile, Trump began to openly criticize the doctor.

In June he repeatedly stated that Fauci was not responsible for deciding the return of professional sports – “Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL football,” he wrote on Twitter – after that Fauci wondered when the leagues could start playing.

In recent interviews, he openly questioned the advice he had received from Fauci at the start of the epidemic.

“I think we are in a good position. I don’t agree with him, “said Trump in an interview on Tuesday when asked about Fauci’s claim that the United States is still” on its knees in the first wave “of the pandemic.

Trump accused Fauci of being wrong on the first decisions of the crisis, saying that it was better to ignore the experts and trust his instincts.

“Dr. Fauci said not to wear masks and now he says to wear masks,” he told Greta Van Susteren of Gray Television. “And he said a lot. Don’t close China. Do not ban China. I did it anyway. I did not listen to my experts and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape. You wouldn’t be ”I believe we would have had more deaths if we had not banned. ”

White House did not approve requests for TV interviews with Fauci, official says

Trump’s criticisms of Fauci don’t hold water; the decision to advise against wearing masks was largely due to a national shortage, and Fauci publicly supported the travel ban from China when it was announced.

Yet Trump’s critics reflect his belief that the health experts he assembled at the start of the pandemic misbehaved him, an opinion that has been fueled by some in the conservative media who have accused Fauci and others Members of the administration impose draconian foreclosures despite their unelected officials.

In some ways, Fauci’s criticisms of Fox and Congress have adjusted their complaints about him to reflect the type of criticism that they say appeals to Trump. Calling him an unelected bureaucrat trying to undermine Trump, they refer to the “deep state” conspiracies that have fueled Trump countless times before.

Formerly an almost constant presence on television, Fauci has been relegated in recent weeks to newspaper interviews, online webcasts and radio. While his comments are still widely covered – due to his general credibility and his fascination with his relationship with Trump – they did not reach an audience as large as a morning show or a cable interview.

In several this week, Fauci denounced the politicization surrounding the federal response to coronaviruses, and said that the nation would have been better served if the leaders had acted in unison.

“One of the problems we face is that in the midst of the fight against an unprecedented historic pandemic, there are still divisions – there are divisions politically,” he told The Hill. “We can see that when we look at the different perspectives that people take on this. ”

“So I think you will have to make the assumption that if there were not such a division, we would have a more coordinated approach,” he later told the FiveThiryEight podcast.

He did not mention the president specifically in these interviews. But when asked in a conversation with the Financial Times about Trump’s false claim that 99% of coronavirus cases are “completely harmless,” he seemed puzzled.

“I’m trying to figure out where the president got this number,” said Fauci. “I think what happened was that someone told him that the general mortality is around 1%. And he therefore interpreted that 99% is not a problem, whereas it is obviously not the case.

If he is seeking clarification directly from the President, he may have to wait.

Trump himself has not attended a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force since April, according to administration officials. As the panel meets Friday at the White House, Trump travels to Florida for unrelated business. Fauci was seen arriving for the mid-morning meeting.

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