UPDATE: Dr. Anthony Fauci has responded to the controversy on Fox News. He tells John Roberts that he did not get the sense that President Trump was "distorting anything" about the coronavirus. His conversations with the president, Fauci said, were always "straightforward."
"I didn't see any discrepancies between what we told [Trump] and what he told the public."
QUESTION: Did you get any sense that President Trump was downplaying the coronavirus.— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) September 9, 2020
"No, no, I didn’t. I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything." - Dr. Anthony Fauci pic.twitter.com/LXANZOY8P2
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was bombarded with questions on Wednesday about a newly leaked audio clip of President Trump chatting with Bob Woodward about the coronavirus. In the clip, he is heard saying that he "always tried to play it down" because he "didn't want to create a panic." Critics pounced, and the new hashtag, #TrumpKnew, was born.
The Trump campaign, wanting to stop the news cycle in its tracks, shared an old audio clip of their own. It's Dr. Anthony Fauci telling a reporter that he has total confidence in the president, and that Trump has never contradicted his expertise. He found it unfortunate that the media was trying to spin it another way.
REMINDER: Dr. Fauci said, "The president has listened to what I have said... When I've made recommendations he's taken them. He's never countered or overridden me."pic.twitter.com/dOdV4hhrWv— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) September 9, 2020
"That is really unfortunate," he said. "I would wish that that would stop. Because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. There really fundamentally at the core when you look at things, there are not differences."
"The president has listened to what I have said and what the other people on the task force have said," Fauci continued. "When I've made recommendations he's taken them. He's never countered or overridden me."
Pitting them against each other, he said, is "not helping."
Marone, the Trump campaign's rapid response coordinator, had one more reminder for the press on Wednesday.
"President Trump took decisive action & implemented China travel restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus," she wrote. "The move saved countless American lives. Joe Biden opposed the restrictions and called them xenophobic."
Republicans like Errol Webber, who is running for Congress in California, spun the #TrumpKnew hashtag on its head to paint Democrats as the bad guy in this situation, and Trump as the one on top of things.
Fact of the matter is that #TrumpKnew and that’s why he acted decisively.— Errol Webber For Congress (CA-37) (@ErrolWebber) September 9, 2020
The Democrats also knew and their states are where large majority of the COVID-19 death toll came from.
Woodward is promoting his new book about President Trump, entitled "Rage," in which he concludes that Trump "is the wrong man for the job.”
There's always a book.