Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing back against the latest false media narrative that has he and Donald Trump not seeing eye to eye on what to do about the pandemic.
“I would wish that that would stop, because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences,” Fauci said in a radio interview. “Really, fundamentally at the core, when you look at things, there are not differences.”
The narrative of Trump vs. Fauci was fed by a story in the New York Times headlined, “Trump Has Given Unusual Leeway to Fauci, but Aides Say He’s Losing His Patience.” And Chris Cillizza of CNN asked, “Has Donald Trump had enough of Anthony Fauci?” The thrust of this narrative is that Trump is ignoring Fauci’s advice and the notoriously short-tempered and impatient president is tuning him out.
The Times makes it seem that Fauci is all but fired:
“[Fauci] has grown bolder in correcting the president’s falsehoods and overly rosy statements about the spread of the coronavirus in the past two weeks — and he has become a hero to the president’s critics because of it. And now, Mr. Trump’s patience has started to wear thin.”
And Cillizza claims that Fauci has “repeatedly acknowledged” that he disagrees with the president.
And Fauci, for his part, has been remarkably frank in recent interviews about Trump’s fasehoods and how he deals with them. In a candid interview with Science Magazine over the weekend, Fauci repeatedly acknowledged that he disagrees with Trump and that the President veers into misinformation at times.
But Fauci dismisses the narratives, saying that he and Trump are on the same page and that the president usually follows his recommendations.
“The president has listened to what I have said and to what the other people on the task force have said, when I have made recommendations he has taken them, he’s never countered or overridden me, the idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful,” Fauci stated. “I wish that would stop and we’d look ahead at the challenge we have to pull together to get over this thing.”
And Fauci also pushed back against the notion that Trump would fire him.
When asked how he has managed “to not get fired,” Fauci admitted that Trump, “to his credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”
I really, really wish Trump would let Fauci and the other experts do the talking and stick to a script. But in this case, it doesn’t matter what Trump says as much as what he does. His experts are telling him relaxing social distancing procedures after Apri 12 is too soon. But these are experts in community health, not the economy. And the president has determined that an economic shutdown that continues much after that date would do more harm than good.