Fauci Scolds Media: Seriously, Stop Trying to Drive a Wedge Between President Trump and Me

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Posted: Mar 25, 2020 10:45 AM
Fauci Scolds Media: Seriously, Stop Trying to Drive a Wedge Between President Trump and Me

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Ah, so I wasn't imagining it. In fairness, it was hardly subtle. Yesterday, I mentioned that it seemed as if some in the press were actively rooting for a rift to open up between President Trump and his top public health experts. What a juicy story. It would make Trump look bad, and undermine public confidence in the middle of a crisis. Sure, Trump has a penchant for excommunicating 'disloyal' subordinates -- which in this case it could lead to a disaster -- but eyes on the prize, everyone. The efforts to bait Trump and peddle speculation are so conspicuous that many others noticed it, too:


They're trying to goad Trump into contradicting the experts, and they're goading the experts to do the same in return. Some of these questions are fair because it's important to gain clarity, and a fair number of his answers and pronouncements are confusing -- but others are obviously meant as conflict-stirring gotchas. Dr. Fauci also sees the game they're playing, and he's pointedly declining to play along:

That is really unfortunate. 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. When I’ve made recommendations he’s taken them. He’s never countered or overridden me. The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful. I wish that would stop, and we’d look ahead at the challenge we have to pull together, to get over this thing.

For his part, at Monday evening's press conference, the president called Fauci a "good man" whose expertise and input will continue to be "very important" as pandemic-related public policies are being formulated. As for the elusive and difficult balance of maintaining sound practices to defeat the virus, while also transitioning to a 'reopening' life to limit economic damage, Fauci agrees that such conversations need to take place:


This is correct:


Being concerned about economic devastation -- which has tangible and even health-related consequences for many millions of people -- is not misplaced. But neither is warning against trying to transition to quasi-normalcy prematurely or too rapidly could result in very serious. It's a very challenging balance to strike, which will hopefully become less challenging with more time, more outcomes and more data (and some pieces of information continue to be very concerning). And despite what some in the press will claim, this answer was a qualified, caveat-filled, aspirational goal, not a "deadline:"


Reassessments will need to take place based on the data in the coming weeks. And leaders -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- understand the need to plan for a transition to reopening. I'll leave you with this number from Gallup. For the umpteenth time, the media is grossly out of touch with public sentiment: