Trump closes his campaign by insulting Fauci for telling the truth #Breaking112
His personal warfare against Fauci on a frenzied day on the campaign trail, while indecent and questionable from a strategic political perspective, revealed how the US government effort to beat the pandemic has been suppressed in the service of Trump’s reelection.
“Tony Fauci has been the most clear, consistent proponent of the measures the United States needs to protect itself from a deadly disease,” William Haseltine, a renowned public health expert and former professor at Harvard Medical School, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday.
“What Donald Trump is doing is attacking the fire department when the house in burning down. This is a very serious time.”
Trump’s conduct is typical of an approach to the disease that has rejected science when it doesn’t provide answers that are politically palpable and has threatened to cause the sickness and death of tens of thousands more Americans.
Trump’s attack on Fauci comes despite the fact that Covid-19 is now rampaging across many of the swing states he must win in 14 days to secure a second term, and where he holds rallies with few masks and no social distancing likely to further spread the disease.
It also unleashed his pent-up fury about the doctor, who polls show is more trusted and popular than the President is, and again featured his fixation with the public servant’s invitation to throw an opening pitch for the Washington Nationals earlier this season.
Smears against a respected public servant
Trump’s capacity to shock is tempered by the uproar of his nearly four years in office. But it is still mind boggling for a President to smear and lie about an infectious disease expert who is revered across the world, was an instrumental figure in beating back HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Zika,and is focused on the worst public health crisis in 100 years.
While targeting Fauci, Trump is arguing that Americans are fed up with the virus and don’t want to be told to listen to scientists counseling social distancing and other precautionary methods — as if just ignoring experts will make the crisis disappear.
“People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said on a campaign call with staffers that launched a day of personal attacks.
Given that Trump’s entire campaign is based on triggering a massive mobilization of his political base that accepts his downplaying of the virus, there may be a limited rationale for Trump’s actions — even if they appear in direct contravention of his duty to keep all Americans safe. Yet they raise the question of whether he is further denting his appeal among the majority of voters who say that he has done a poor job in responding to the pandemic.
“Mr. President, you’re right about one thing: the American people are tired,” Biden said in a statement Monday as he prepared for the final presidential debate on Thursday. “They’re tired of your lies about this virus. They’re tired of watching more Americans die and more people lose their jobs because you refuse to take this pandemic seriously.”
One Trump adviser told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Monday that the President’s attack on Fauci two weeks before the election was “not smart” and added that “time is running out” and “time is our enemy” and noted Biden’s fundraising advantage in the final days of the race.
Trump’s fury reflects a difficult political situation
Trump’s fury may reflect increasing concern about an election that is threatening to get away from him and the horrible reality that a deadly pandemic that he has mismanaged is back with a vengeance at the most inconvenient political moment.
It was also clear Trump is fuming that Fauci, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, is viewed as a credible figure and gets TV time — as on CBS “60 Minutes” on Sunday night. Trump’s entire presidency has been an exercise in trashing credible sources of institutional information, from the courts, to scientists and experts across the government and the media. But Fauci’s reputation — in a rare occurrence in this administration — has survived intact and appears to be secure.
“When you have a million deaths … globally, you cannot say, we are on a road to essentially getting out of this,” Fauci said on “60 Minutes” in a direct repudiation of Trump’s argument that America “is rounding the corner” on the pandemic. The doctor also wondered aloud in the interview why the President appeared to see mask wearing as a sign of weakness.
Ironically, while Trump spent Monday hammering Fauci, his campaign has used the doctor’s image to falsely laud Trump’s actions during the pandemic — a step that infuriated the veteran doctor who has served six presidents and always strove to avoid the taint of partisanship.
66 false claims
And he angrily rounded on a member of the White House press pool under the wing of Air Force One for not reporting that Biden is a “criminal.” There is no evidence of criminal activity by the former vice president, who Trump falsely accuses of spying on his 2016 campaign.
But his venting against Fauci dominated one of the last days of a campaign in which Trump is trying to win over moderate and swing state voters.
Fauci, 79, has been America’s top infectious disease specialist since the year Ronald Reagan won reelection. He enjoys talismanic status within the medical community in the US and abroad. He was for example a key player in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiated by President George W. Bush that is credited with saving millions of lives in Africa.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University Medical Center, said on CNN Monday that in response to Trump’s attacks, Fauci should consider himself excused from any White House restrictions on his media appearances.
“I think Dr. Fauci should disregard any kind of media clearance from the White House and do whatever media he wants to do whenever he wants to do it,” Reiner said. “That would be his public service. I don’t think the White House can fire Anthony Fauci two weeks before the election because he comes out to speak the truth.”