The far-right extremists who hate Hillary Clinton are now turning their venom on Dr. Anthony Fauci: report

The far-right extremists who hate Hillary Clinton are now turning their venom on Dr. Anthony Fauci: report
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci addresses his remarks and urges citizens to continue to follow the President’s coronavirus guidelines during a coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

As the coronavirus pandemic went from bad to worse in the United States — where, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the COVID-19 death count has passed 85,900 — millions of Americans turned to Dr. Anthony Fauci as a valuable source of information. But the expert immunologist, who is part of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, has his share of unhinged critics on the far right. And journalists Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, in an article for the Daily Beast, report that many Trumpistas are showing Fauci the type of hatred they typically reserve for Hillary Clinton.

“A cadre of influential conservatives is growing increasingly convinced that the nation’s foremost infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is recklessly driving the nation to financial ruin — possibly even in a concerted attempt to undermine President Donald Trump,” Markay and Suebsaeng explain. “And in an effort to stop him, they’re resorting to tried and true methods, from public shaming to online conspiracy theories to lawsuits meant to unearth e-mails pertaining to his work.”

The article is headlined “Team ‘Lock Her Up’ Is Now Going After Fauci” — a reference to the “lock her up, lock her up” chants aimed at Clinton at MAGA rallies. In fact, Markay and Suebsaeng note, some of the Trumpistas who despise Fauci are “key figures who helped spearhead the campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections” — for example, former Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon, who served in Trump’s administration in 2017.

This week on his podcast, Bannon claimed that Fauci “set up President Trump for failure in the fall and asserted, “Understand this: Tony Fauci has not been around from 1984 because he doesn’t know how to play the game. He is a master game-player.”

Another Fauci critic, Markay and Suebsaeng add, is Tom Fitton, who serves as president of the right-wing Judicial Watch and “announced this week that his organization would be suing the National Institutes of Health in an effort to obtain Fauci’s communications about the coronavirus with the World Health Organization.”

Fitton described Fauci as part of the “medical establishment,” claiming that people of his ilk are “probably more liberal in their world view.”

A White House official, quoted anonymously, told the Beast, “The president knows how much the liberal media loves Dr. Fauci. There are times he thinks that can be played to (Trump’s) advantage. There are other moments when he finds it irritating.”

It should be noted that the far-right wingnuts who hate Clinton and Fauci typically hate former President Barack Obama as well. The same pro-Trump media outlets that have been bashing Fauci this week have also been promoting the wacky “Obamagate” conspiracy theory.

Markay and Suebsaeng point out that although Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is among the “conservative stalwarts” who has “rushed to Fauci’s defense,” there are many Trumpistas who don’t share her high opinion of him — and the Beast reporters noted that a recent CBS News poll found a lot more support for him among Democrats than among Republicans.

“Among Democrats,” Markay and Suebsaeng write, “Fauci’s standing borders on that of a folk hero.”

“For some influential conservative pundits,” they explain, “Fauci is seen as, at best, misguided and, at worst, a malicious obstacle to Trump’s agenda and his political prospects in November. And for that reason, he has found himself on the receiving end of a host of fringy conspiracy theories blaming him for the damage ostensibly done by White House-backed policies to limit public gatherings and commercial activity in response to the virus.”

Markay and Suebsaeng cite Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and Lou Dobbs as some of the far-right pundits at Fox News or Fox Business who have been bashing Fauci.

“Rare is the case where a leading scientist becomes a boogeyman in national politics,” Markay and Suebsaeng note. “But the country finds itself in rare times. Fauci has served Republican and Democratic presidents alike, but none like Trump — who has been as keen on monitoring Fauci’s media hits as he is at consuming his public-health policy advice.”

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