Donald Trump has no plans to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The president ended speculation that the doctor is on thin ice during a combative interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday in which Trump described his relationship with the doctor as “very good.”
Trump ends Fauci speculation
Speculation of a split between Trump and Fauci has lingered for months, as Trump has agitated for an end to the debilitating economic shutdowns that Fauci insists are necessary to fight the coronavirus.
With cases rising in many states, contrasting messages between Trump and Fauci have put a sharper edge on tensions within the Trump administration over the pandemic response, while also renewing rumors of Fauci’s dismissal.
In the testy interview with Wallace, Trump agreed that health experts have made mistakes during the pandemic — a cardinal sin by media standards, to be sure — and said that Fauci is no exception, pointing to his previous advice not to wear masks and his reluctance to close off travel to China.
But Trump suggested that Fauci won’t be getting fired, even as he called him an “alarmist,” saying: “Dr. Fauci’s made some mistakes. But I have a very good — I spoke to him yesterday at length. I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci.”
NIH: Firing Fauci “unimaginable”
The president reportedly spoke to Fauci for the first time in two months last week as criticism of the doctor from within the White House ramped up.
Last week, White House adviser Peter Navarro authored an op-ed attacking Fauci for being “wrong about everything,” and social media director Dan Scavino shared a political cartoon likening Fauci to a leaky faucet, according to The Hill, reflecting anger and suspicion towards Fauci among many Trump supporters.
But the head of the National Institutes of Health said that firing Fauci would be “unimaginable,” reflecting sentiment in the media that he is an untouchable authority.
Sending his own message
Continuing a trend of media coddling, Fauci praised New York’s response to the coronavirus Friday, despite the state’s dismally shocking COVID-19 death rate, which is among the highest in the country.
Meanwhile, Trump, for his part, is eager to get schools open in the fall, and he sees a plan by Democrats to exaggerate the danger of the virus and thwart his re-election, as he explained during his interview with Wallace. According to Fox, Trump said:
I think the economy is expanding and growing beautifully. Now, the Democrats want to keep it closed as long as possible because they think that’s good for elections. But I think the economy is doing very well.
While Fauci seems to be safe in his job, Trump appears very much to be sending his own message.