Fauci, known for his frankness and diplomacy, has implicitly and explicitly questioned Trump on several occasions. Trump shows his annoyance which seemed to increase last week when he was stepped in to stop Fauci from answering questions about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven remedy, the president has heralded for the treatment of Covid-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus.
Trump in the past often showed his anger with criticism in his own government by retweeting others instead of directly commenting on his own.
Fauci also confirmed a story in the New York Times which said that he and other experts wanted to start social and physical distance action in early February.
“Obviously, it would be better if we had a better start, but I don’t think you can say that we are where we are now because of one factor,” Fauci told CNN on Sunday. “This is very complicated.”
Comments measured by Fauci, who did not mention Trump or explicitly criticized the government, led a confusion right-wing commentators to rebuke the nation’s top infectious disease experts. Trump retweeted a former congressional candidate who said it was “It’s time for #FireFauci.”
Trapped inside the White House due to limited social distance, Trump spent his Easter Sunday fence against “Fake news, “Slamming publications from the New York Times to Fox News, after criticism of the federal government’s slow response to the coronavirus pandemic escalated at the weekend.
The president attacks journalists after the New York Times report that the Trump administration has information that can lead to social precautions much earlier and blames the president’s slow response to the scale of the spread of the virus and the increasing number of deaths.
Similar criticism was echoed in many Sunday news reports, triggering a hot retort from Trump even for Fox News.
In an interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace, Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, also said the US would be “in a much better position” if the Trump administration acted faster. The interview inspired Trump to blow up a right-leaning news network.
Just watched Mike Wallace wannabe, Chris Wallace, be active @ FoxNews. I am now convinced that he is even worse than Chuck Todd’s Sleepy Eyes from Meet the Press (please!), Or the people at Deface the Nation. What happened? @ FoxNews. This is the new ballgame there!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
The following are relevant excerpts from Fauci’s Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper:
TAPPER: The New York Times reported yesterday that you and other high-ranking officials want to recommend social and physical distance guidelines to President Trump as far as the third week of February, but the government did not announce the guidelines to the American public until March 16, almost a month later. Why?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we see it from the point of view of pure health. We make recommendations. Often, recommendations are taken. Sometimes not. But we – indeed like that. We are where we are now.
TAPPER: Do you think lives can be saved if the act of social distance, physical distance, staying home starts the third week of February, not mid-March?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, again, this is what you will have, what you can have. That’s – it’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you can logically say that if you have an ongoing process, and you start mitigation early, you can save lives. Clearly, no one will deny that.
But what goes into such decisions is – complicated. But you are right. I mean, of course, if we had, from the start, closed everything, maybe it would be a little different.
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