Everyone, calm down. The White House said Monday that there are no plans to “fire” Dr. Anthony Fauci from the coronavirus task force.
President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions publicly expressed his appreciation for Fauci’s counsel on the coronavirus, but uproar ensued after he retweeted a post that included the hashtag #FireFauci on Sunday.
“This media chatter is ridiculous – President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci,” White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said, according to the New York Post. “The President’s tweet clearly exposed media attempts to maliciously push a falsehood about his China decision in an attempt to rewrite history.”
“It was Democrats and the media who ignored Coronavirus choosing to focus on impeachment instead, and when they finally did comment on the virus it was to attack President Trump for taking the bold decisive action to save American lives by cutting off travel from China and from Europe,” Gidley continued.
“Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump,” he concluded.
Fauci discusses hypotheticals
The tweet in question came from former Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine and referenced an appearance by Fauci earlier in the day with CNN host Jake Tapper. In the interview, Fauci had responded to hypothetical questions about the administration’s response to the viral outbreak with answers that have been taken out of context and twisted as though they were direct criticisms of the president.
In short, Fauci had conceded that lives could have potentially been saved if stricter mitigation actions were taken earlier, even as he also acknowledged that there was no appetite for widespread shutdowns in the early phase of the outbreak.
He also made it clear that his recommendations — which were often followed, though sometimes not — were solely based on a “pure health standpoint,” meaning other considerations like the economy and political realities weren’t factored in.
Trump’s retweet of #FireFauci
Lorraine tweeted, “Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives. Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large. Time to #FireFauci…”
President Trump retweeted that message and added, “Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
Media sets up Fauci vs. Trump narrative
For several weeks now, the mainstream media has made it a point to push a narrative of conflict between Dr. Fauci and Trump, playing one against the other with editorializing, out-of-context quotes or unfounded anonymous rumors, all in an effort to make the president look ignorant or unprepared.
On Monday, Dr. Fauci spoke at Trump’s daily coronavirus task force briefing, further quelling the rumors of his dismissal. He also took the opportunity to clarify his answers to Tappers’ “hypothetical” questions about whether lives would have been saved with stricter mitigation efforts, stating that Trump has consistently followed his health recommendations for the social distancing period and its extension.