The infectious disease expert is much more trusted than Trump when it comes to the coronavirus. The White House is trying to change that.
The knives are out for Dr. Anthony Fauci, with both Donald Trump and White House officials trying to shift the blame for the administration's failed coronavirus response onto the infectious disease expert.
Anonymous White House officials sent the Washington Post a "lengthy list" of comments Fauci — a member of Trump's coronavirus task force — made about the virus early on that turned out to be false.
That list, which was soon disseminated to reporters at multiple media outlets, includes comments Fauci made that were taken out of context to make Fauci look bad.
For example, ABC News reported that one of the comments included in the document was "at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis," which Fauci had said in February.
However, the document did not include that Fauci also said in that same interview, "Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread."
The public attacks on Fauci began last week, when Trump himself slammed the infectious disease expert during interviews with two different conservative media figures.
Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity that Fauci "is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes," and he told conservative TV host Greta Van Susteren that he disagreed with Fauci's assessment that the coronavirus situation is "really not good" in the United States.
The attacks come as the coronavirus cases are surging in large swaths of the country, threatening to overwhelm hospitals.
Deaths from the virus are once again on the rise, with the death toll now standing at 134,976, according to the New York Times.
Meanwhile, polls show the public trusts Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, far more than Trump on the coronavirus.
A New York Times/Siena College poll from late June found 67% of voters trust Fauci for "accurate information about the coronavirus," while just 26% of voters trust Trump.
Polls show Trump's coronavirus response is dragging down his reelection chances, with 67% of voters disapproving of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released July 10.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden responded to the Trump administration's plot to discredit Fauci.
"It's hard to believe this has to be said, but unlike this president, I'll actually listen to the experts and heed their advice. Not silence them," Biden tweeted on Sunday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.