Both Democrats and the media had high hopes for Dr. Anthony Fauci, leader of the Trump Administration’s Coronavirus Task Force. In the past, Fauci hasn’t been afraid to correct statements made by the President, who doesn’t hold a medical degree.
It seems, however, that their hopes have now been dashed.
While questioned during a press conference on Monday, Fauci explicitly stated that the President has listened to the advice of health experts and taken action in accordance with their advice.
This runs contrary to the mainstream media’s portrayal of the President as an ignoramus who has ingnored everything put in front of him.
Fox News provides details from the press conference:
Fauci said during the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing that his comments Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” were incomplete and that the president was not to blame for the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on the country.
Fauci on Sunday said: “I mean, obviously, you could the White House logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But, what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
Summoned to the podium by Trump, Fauci tried to dispel the interpretation that his comments meant “that maybe someone was at fault here,” before going on to defend Trump and say that the president has heeded the advice of public health officials every time they’ve offered suggestions.
The comments created a firestorm of controversy that the president was planning on firing Fauci, which reached a fever pitch once Trump retweeted a message that included the hashtag “#FireFauci.”
The administration tried on Monday to clear up the matter by saying that the reaction to the post missed the point and that Trump was just trying to respond to a media “falsehood” about the coronavirus response.
“This media chatter is ridiculous – President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci. The President’s tweet clearly exposed media attempts to maliciously push a falsehood about his China decision in an attempt to rewrite history,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
During Monday’s press briefing, Fauci denied that the president of anybody in the administration had pressured him into clarifying his comments.
“Everything I do is voluntary,” Fauci said. “Please don’t even imply that.”
Watch the clip of Dr. Fauci’s response below:
The media also quickly circulated reports that Trump planned on firing Fauci due to a tweet the President re-tweeted. Both President Trump and Dr. Fauci clarified that any plans to dismiss Fauci from his position are false.
The Daily Caller also has the following to add:
Dr. Anthony Fauci corrected the record Monday, announcing during the Coronavirus Task Force briefing that President Donald Trump had taken action when it was recommended.
Fauci explained that a hypothetical answer from a Sunday morning CNN interview had led a number of outlets to suggest that Trump had ignored calls from the experts to shut things down earlier — and that just was not the case.
Fauci began by explaining that he answered a hypothetical question Sunday about whether earlier mitigation steps might have saved more lives — and he said that it might have.
That answer, as Fauci noted, was quickly taken as a suggestion that someone — namely Trump — was to blame for mitigation efforts not beginning sooner.
The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I went in and formally made a recommendation to the president to actually have a ‘shutdown’ in the sense of not really shut down, but to really have strong mitigation, we discussed it,” Fauci explained. “Obviously there would be concern by some, and in fact, that might have some negative consequences. Nonetheless, the president listen to the recommendation. And went to the mitigation.”
Fauci went on to say that the second time was no different, adding, “The next second time that I went with Dr. Birx into the president and said 15 days are not enough, we need to go 30 days, obviously there were people who had a problem with that, because of the potential secondary effects, nonetheless, at that time the president went with the health recommendations, and we extended it another 30 days.”
Appearing to take a shot at the media, Fauci continued, “So I can only tell you what I know and what my recommendations were, but clearly as happens all the time, there were interpretations of that response to a hypothetical question that I just thought it would be very nice for me to clarify, because I did not have the chance to clarify. Thank you.”
One reporter pressed Fauci on the date of the mitigation recommendation, and he replied, “To be honest with you, I do not even remember the date. I can just tell you the first and only time that I went in and said we should do mitigation strongly, the response was, ‘yes, we will do it. ‘”
Responses circulated on Twitter regarding the exchange: