Renowned immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci has been an influential and highly visible member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force throughout the pandemic’s escalation in the United States.
During a Monday interview, CNN’s Jake Tapper tried hard to paint a picture of deep divisions between the doctor and the president — but according to Newsweek, Fauci was having none of it, even as he also faces criticism from some commentators on the right.
Fauci pushes back
At one point in the conversation, Tapper referenced a statement that Trump made last week about not taking calls from governors who do not treat him “right.”
“The reality is — not the rhetoric is — that the people who need things will get what they need. There’s the reality, and the rhetoric,” Fauci said, according to Newsweek. “I know the spirit of the task force, and when people need things, it doesn’t matter who they are, we try to get them what they need.”
Tapper also wanted Fauci to respond to comments the president made about hoping to restart the economy by Easter, asking, “You don’t think we’re ready to lift guidelines yet?”
“We’re going to obviously, seriously, discuss and consider that,” Fauci responded, according to Newsweek. “My own opinion, looking at the way things are, I doubt if that would be the case but we’re a group, we’re a task force, we’re going to sit down and talk about it
“We’ll take it as it comes, we’ll look at it, and if we need to push the date forward, we’ll push the date forward,” the doctor went on. “It’s going to be a matter of weeks, it’s not going to be tomorrow and it’s certainly not going to be next week.”
In fact, President Trump announced in a press conference on Sunday that he would be extending the current social distancing guidelines through April 30, The New York Times reported.
Suspicion from all sides
According to Newsweek, Fauci isn’t just dealing with antagonism from the liberal media; his defense of and heavy involvement in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response has also served in part to answer to allegations leveled by some conservatives that the doctor is actually one of the “Deep State” actors about whom Trump has long warned.
The hashtag #FauciFraud has trended on Twitter in recent days, something discussed at length in a Saturday New York Times report. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, faces a torrent of false claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president,” the Times piece stated.
Those accusations from some on the right are reportedly based in part on an email that Fauci wrote back in 2013 containing words of praise for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Politico noted.
But for now, it looks like Fauci is focused on one thing only: beating COVID-19 in America once and for all.