Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a familiar face to Americans living through the coronavirus pandemic, and his celebrity hasn’t come without controversy.
But the virus expert has clung to his job, in spite of public backlash and rumors of palace intrigue. Notwithstanding the drama, administration officials believe Fauci has managed to retain his role on the White House task force because of a strong personal relationship with the president, the Washington Examiner reported.
Insiders: Fauci and Trump get along
In the weeks since he became an omnipresent figure, Fauci and his fellow experts have grown to become, for many liberals, foils to Trump in the coronavirus crisis. Many on the left have held up Fauci as a protagonist against an ignorant and selfish president, who they say is eager to sacrifice American lives for the sake of restarting the economy.
While beloved by many, Fauci has also faced backlash from conservatives because of his role in shaping coronavirus policy. Citizen impatience has grown in recent days with lockdowns that have devastated the U.S. economy, and some have called for Fauci to be fired.
Speculation that Fauci is at odds with Trump has also continued to follow the virus expert after gossip that his job was on the line reached a peak around Easter, when Trump retweeted a call for his firing, as The Washington Post reported. Fauci has publicly contradicted various claims by Trump, including the president’s recent endorsement of a theory that the Wuhan virus originated in a laboratory.
According to the Examiner, the Brooklyn-born Fauci has kept his job because he has a genial relationship with Trump — who is from neighboring Queens — that taps into their New York roots.
“I think he does,” an official told the outlet. “They get along great in person.”
Task force in transition
Like Dr. Deborah Birx, Fauci has defended his boss even when appearing to take a contrary position. To some, these are just the desperate efforts of scientists trying to stay employed by an ignoramus, and some reporters have even attacked Fauci and Birx for not doing enough to publicly contradict the president.
There is no doubt that Fauci’s scientific approach has sometimes clashed with Trump’s interest in opening up the economy quickly, and the doctor’s support of protracted lockdowns has certainly chafed with many of the president’s supporters. Some of the doctor’s statements have been criticized as out of touch, like his suggestion that people never shake hands again.
In another sign of divergence, President Trump said Wednesday that Americans won’t stand for lockdowns much longer, The Washington Times reported.
Fauci and Birx have been heard from less since Trump started paring back his daily briefings in the wake of controversy about his comments on injecting disinfectant, and reports this week that the coronavirus task force will be disbanded, or else change form to focus on the economy, seem to raise the possibility that their role will fade further. But Trump has maintained that he will keep seeking their advice.
While they may not see eye to eye on everything, it looks like Trump, being the people person that he is, just likes the cut of Fauci’s jib.