President Donald Trump has long pushed back on speculation in the media that there is a rift between him and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious diseases expert who long served as the face of the White House coronavirus task force. But while those on the left may want to believe there’s discord in the West Wing, recent remarks from Fauci himself show Trump is still winning that argument.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is now on record saying that he doesn’t believe anyone in the White House is trying to “discredit” him. According to Breitbart, Fauci’s remarks came during an interview with PBS NewsHour on Friday.
On the same team
Speaking with PBS, Fauci was asked directly about his relationship with the White House.
“Just yesterday, [White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows] called you irresponsible for a statement you made comparing — saying that this pandemic could be worse than the 1918 pandemic. You also have been attacked, as you know, by Peter Navarro, the White House adviser,” host Judy Woodruff pointed out, according to a transcript provided by PBS. “Are you convinced that the White House is not trying to discredit you, Dr. Fauci?”
Woodruff’s line of questioning included a mention of an op-ed Navarro wrote for USA Today. In that piece — which USA Today later said fell short of its editorial standards, as The New York Times reported — the White House adviser attacked Fauci, who he said “has been wrong about everything.”
Despite those harsh criticisms, Fauci said he still has the full confidence of the Trump administration, including the commander in chief himself.
“I think you have got to be careful when you say the White House,” Fauci told Woodruff, as PBS reported. “There are — the White House in general is not trying to. Certainly, the president is not. I certainly believe that Mark Meadows is not. What happened with Peter Navarro and that editorial, I can’t even comment on that. That just is beyond my comprehension why he did that.”
Fauci added: “But I do not believe that the White House is trying to discredit me. No, I don’t.”
“Full backing and support”
Apparently unhappy with Fauci’s answer, Woodruff pushed further. “Do you think you have the full backing and support of the White House, from the president on down?” she asked Fauci, according to the transcript.
“I do. I do. I believe I do,” the doctor responded. “I spoke to the president about that. I believe I do.”
Fauci’s remarks come as outlets from CNN to MSNBC have reported on a disharmony at the White House over how the nation can best respond to the threat of the coronavirus, which has already infected more than 3.7 million Americans and killed at least 140,000, according to a tracker from The New York Times. But as Fauci has repeatedly made clear throughout the pandemic, he’s not interested in playing the media’s political games.
After all, lives are at stake here.