Of course, the public trusts Dr. Fauci way more than it trusts Trump too.
Donald Trump told supporters on Sunday night that he hopes to fire America's top epidemiologist after the election. But polls show Dr. Anthony Fauci is far more popular than Trump is.
As Trump again downplayed the pandemic at a campaign rally in Florida, Trump's supporters began chanting "Fire Fauci." Trump egged them on, telling them, "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice."
Americans strongly disapprove of Trump's botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A late October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found just 40% approve of his handling of the coronavirus, compared to 57% who disapprove.
The same poll showed that only 52% of Americans hold a negative view of Trump, compared to 43% who hold a positive view of him. At the same time, 50% of Americans hold a positive view of Fauci — with just 13% holding a negative one.
Other polls in recent months have shown Fauci is more trusted on the virus than Trump is. A Morning Consult poll released in October, found 64% of Americans believe Fauci's coronavirus response has been "excellent" or "good," while only about 39% said the same of Trump's.
This is not the first time Trump has publicly undermined the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his work to curb the pandemic.
In July, a Trump staffer sent the Washington Post a lengthy list of Fauci's "wrong" comments made in the earliest days of the crisis, when little information was known about the coronavirus. Just days later, Trump himself went on Fox News to complain that "Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes, like, you don't have to ban them coming in from very infected China. I did it anyway, and we saved hundreds of thousands of lives." Experts have debunked Trump's oft-repeated claim that his partial freeze on travel from China had much of an impact.
Later that month, Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro penned a vicious attack piece in USA Today called "Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on." The White House denied that the piece had been approved by the administration, though the Los Angeles Times later reported that Trump had "authorized" and "encouraged" Navarro to write it.
On a conference call with campaign staffers earlier this month, Trump mocked Fauci as a "disaster" and opined that "people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots."
In addition to ignoring Fauci's recommendations of social distancing and mask-wearing, Trump's administration blocked him from testifying about the pandemic before House investigative committees and reportedly restricted his television appearances.
But as hundreds of thousands of his constituents have died on Trump's watch, he has also sought to use Fauci to shield himself from criticism. In ads last month, Trump manipulated a clip of Fauci praising the coordinated government response to the virus to make it seem like he was lauding Trump personally. After the ads dishonestly showed Fauci saying, "I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more," the epidemiologist publicly denounced them.
"To take a completely out-of-context statement and put it in, which is obviously a political campaign ad, I thought was really very disappointing," he told CNN.
On Monday morning, Democratic nominee Joe Biden responded to Trump's comments, tweeting, "We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.