The Trump White House’s anti-Fauci campaign has ‘backfired’ badly and made the president ‘look a whole lot worse’: columnist
President Donald Trump’s sycophants, whether they work in the White House or at Fox News, have not been shy about attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci — who, as they see it, is trying to undermine the president’s drive to ease coronavirus-related restrictions and social distancing measures. But according to liberal Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, that anti-Fauci campaign is inspiring more Americans to rally around the expert immunologist.
“President Trump was probably thrilled when he learned that aides sent reporters opposition-research-style bullet points about Anthony S. Fauci,” Sargent asserts in a column published on July 13. “After all, we’re told, Trump is a ‘counter-puncher,’ and Fauci has made him look bad. So, Fauci must be punched back — never mind that Fauci is Trump’s own leading infectious disease expert amid the most dire public health emergency in modern times. Yet all this has really accomplished is to unleash intensified media scrutiny of the tortured relationship between Trump and Fauci. The result: a spate of fresh reporting on that relationship — reporting that only illustrates Trump’s pathologies with new depth and vividness.”
The Post, Sargent notes, has reported that Fauci is “directly in the president’s crosshairs” and that the Trump White House has “moved to sideline Fauci.” But that anti-Fauci campaign, according to Sargent, has “backfired” because it “makes Trump look a whole lot worse.”
Sargent explains, “Fauci has become the enemy, of course, because he has prioritized his efforts to understand a pandemic that has killed nearly 135,000 Americans and sickened millions over the imperative of protecting Trump politically at all costs. Fauci’s efforts may have been flawed at times, but by all appearances, they were undertaken in good faith. And that’s the cardinal sin here: since handling a public health emergency in good faith requires a sincere — if sometimes tactful — effort to inform the public about it, this has inevitably put him in Trump’s crosshairs, because it has reflected badly on Trump.”
The more Trump’s sycophants rail against Fauci, Sargent stresses, the more they show how badly the president has been dropping the ball during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Sargent, “Trump’s advisers have reminded us that all these things — communicating with the public in good faith about an urgent matter, learning from new information even if it sheds unflattering light on earlier conduct, prioritizing public health over Trump’s perceived short-term political interests — are precisely what Trump himself will not do.