Was Trump right to trash Dr. Fauci on the campaign trail?


Fact Box

  • As of October 19, there have been 8.4 million coronavirus cases in the United States, with 225,051 reported deaths.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci is the leading immunologist for the White House, and has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. 
  • Trump criticized Dr. Fauci’s coronavirus recommendations on Monday, saying, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.” 
  • Monday, during the 50th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Fauci was awarded the “first-ever Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership.”

Bill (Yes)

President Trump was right to express his frustration with Dr. Fauci on the campaign trail. Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, Fauci's misstatements have been numerous and damaging to the Trump administration's attempts to communicate a cohesive and coherent message. At the outset of the pandemic, when reporters asked whether a travel ban might be instituted, Fauci declared, 'It's not something that I think we're even considering.' Fauci's pattern of giving faulty guidance continued as the Coronavirus saga unfolded. Regarding the necessity to wear a mask to prevent the spread of cases, Fauci insisted, 'there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.' When asked about the prospect of instituting a lockdown like China did to contain the virus, Fauci responded, 'No, not a chance. It would never happen.'  

Fauci has been delinquent in his use of data to communicate important information about the status of COVID-19. Fauci has consistently touted case numbers which have the effect of feeding the public's fear about the impact of COVID-19, rather than focusing on the fact that the survival rate for Americans under the age of 70 who test positive for Coronavirus is ~99.9%. In fact, CDC statistics show that half of the reported COVID-19 deaths are over age 78 (normal life expectancy). Fauci's lack of leadership has contributed to a rapid decline in the public's trust of the CDC (down from 46% in March to an abysmal 19% in September).

President Trump was right to highlight Fauci's failings since his administration's response to COVID-19 is a major campaign issue, and Fauci is the face of the nation's medical leadership team.

Andrew (No)

From the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has been one of the only scientific voices coming from the White House. Of all of the chaotic voices responding to the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has been one of the few to give science-based advice. Rather than trash the expert on infectious disease, President Trump should listen to him and encourage Americans to follow the simple guidance that Dr. Fauci has been giving, such as social distancing and mask-wearing.

It is irresponsible for president Trump to trash Dr. Fauci because it encourages the president's followers to imitate him and disregard science and advice from experts. This has proven deadly during the pandemic, and the longer trend against expert knowledge in general that President Trump has been promoting will not help to further our country in the long run.

President Trump is clearly lashing out against Dr. Fauci for requesting an ad that quoted the doctor out of context be pulled. President Trump is simply using Dr. Fauci as a scapegoat for his own failed policies and should instead focus on measures that would actually keep Americans safe. Insulting and belittling one of the only members of his administration to possess expert knowledge of infectious diseases and make recommendations to keep Americans safe is wholly inappropriate.

Dr. Fauci has given science-based advice since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, President Trump is more interested in controlling his narrative about the pandemic than actually listening to experts and saving lives. Trump has once again created a distraction rather than address the actual issue.

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