National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has risen to national prominence since being appointed to President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force.
Amid reports of conflicts with administration officials, however, he addressed in a recent interview what it would take for him to “step down,” as Fox News reported.
“Wrong about everything”
Speculation has swirled in recent weeks of friction between the medical expert and some senior Trump advisers behind the scenes, but the situation has now apparently spilled out into the open. In an op-ed for USA Today, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro alleged that Fauci “has good bedside manner with the public, but has been wrong about everything” on which the two have interacted.
He concluded by declaring that he only listens to Fauci “with skepticism and caution.”
While Fox News quoted an unnamed official who said that Navarro’s comments were “definitely not approved by the White House,” the president’s deputy chief of staff for communications also publicly criticized Fauci.
In a Facebook post, Dan Scavino shared a political cartoon depicting Fauci as a faucet as the U.S. economy circles the drain.
“Sorry, Dr. Faucet!” Scavino wrote in a caption. “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. See you tomorrow!”
“Then I would step down”
As for the subject of these and other public critiques, Fauci has described such disputes as ultimately damaging to the president’s ability to lead the nation through this crisis.
He told InStyle magazine that there is a specific set of circumstances under which he would consider leaving his current post.
“I see myself in that role as long as I feel that I’m being useful, and I’m valued in it, and the White House wants me,” he said. “If any of the above change, then I would step down.”
While he certainly has his detractors, Fauci appears fairly secure in his coronavirus task force position for now. Despite disagreements with Trump and others, the president said this week that he has a “very good relationship” with the doctor, CBS News reported.
With so many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, Trump continues to listen to a variety of perspectives as part of his administration’s response to the public health crisis.