As President Donald Trump fights his way through the final days of the presidential campaign denying the pandemic — by lashing out at doctors, disputing science and slashing the press for highlighting rising coronavirus case counts — the long-running rift between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci burst into the open Saturday night.
For months as Trump undercut his own medical experts, sidelined scientists and refused to take basic steps to control the virus while mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist held his tongue and took the President’s attacks in stride as he continued to plead with the American people to socially distance and wear masks.
But Fauci’s restraint appeared to have evaporated in a Washington Post interview that was published Saturday night, in which he called out the White House for allowing its strategy for fighting the virus to be shaped in part by a neuroradiologist with no training in the field of infectious disease and said he appreciated chief of staff Mark Meadows’ honesty when he admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper during a recent interview that the administration has given up controlling the spread of the virus.
At a time when Trump is downplaying the rising cases in the vast majority of states, dangerously holding huge rallies with few masks and no social distancing, and lodging the false and outlandish claim that doctors are exaggerating the number of Covid deaths for profit, Fauci told the Post that the nation is “in for a whole lot of hurt.”
“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place” as the country heads indoors in colder weather, Fauci told the newspaper in an interview late Friday — a day when the US set a global record for the most daily cases and the nation surpassed 229,000 deaths. “You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
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Fauci, who is widely trusted by the public after a lengthy career serving under six presidents from both parties, said Meadows was being candid in the interview last weekend where he told Tapper it was not possible to control the virus. Fauci has adopted the polar opposite strategy by repeatedly telling Americans that they can change the trajectory of the virus and save lives if they adhere to mask use, social distancing protocols and other safety precautions.
“I tip my hat to him for admitting the strategy,” Fauci told the Post of Meadows’