‘Every time I’ve asked him to do something—cut out China travel, or go to the mitigation guidelines—he’s ultimately listened to what I’ve said…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the senior health officials on President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, pushed back on Democratic accusations that Trump has ignored his advice about the pandemic.
“He has a very unique style,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Atlantic. “But the thing that encourages me is that every time I’ve asked him to do something—cut out China travel, or go to the mitigation guidelines—he’s ultimately listened to what I’ve said.”
Democrats harped on a difference of opinion between the two during one of last week’s daily press briefings, in which Fauci cautioned media not to get ahead of themselves regarding chloroquine, an untested possible treatment that, anecdotally, has seen positive results thus far.
Trump interjected that there was no reason not to be hopeful about it.
“I feel good about it,” he said. “That’s all it is, just a feeling. I’m a smart guy… and we’re gonna see, we’re gonna see soon enough.”
When asked why Trump offered medical advice counter to Fauci’s during the press briefing, Fauci told Science magazine that the president “goes his own way” sometimes. But Trump listens “even though we disagree on some things,” Fauci added. “On substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”
Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump of ignoring the opinions of health experts and scientists. Presidential candidate Joe Biden declared the U.S. needs “leadership that listens to science,” implying that Trump does not.
We need leadership that listens to science.
We need leaders who listen to experts and heed their advice.
We need American leadership that will rally the world to meet global threats.
We need leaders who are honest.
That is the responsibility of a president. pic.twitter.com/zcdYiNWRCf
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) March 15, 2020
Many in the media have, predictably, run with the partisan narrative—trying in the process, to hyper-analyze Fauci’s body language in order to drive a wedge between Trump and his top coronavirus adviser.
The president’s apparent anger on display as he used the derogatory term “Deep State Department” and Dr Fauci reacted by putting his hand over his face. Watch. pic.twitter.com/Ks7j4WciVt
— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) March 20, 2020
The Associated Press dedicated an entire article to claims that Fauci and Trump were at odds, but Fauci told CBS News that this was a false report.
DR. FAUCI: “The President was trying to bring hope to the people. I think there’s this issue of [the media] trying to separate the two of us. There isn’t fundamentally a difference there.” pic.twitter.com/lSygidey2a
— Ken Farnaso (@KLF) March 22, 2020
Trump noted that the two have different priorities that, ultimately, must balance each other out. While Fauci’s emphasis is on a thorough scientific process, the president has been eager to fast-track solutions, using his recent national-emergency declaration to circumvent usual regulations and expedite the search for an effective vaccine.
“I feel, as the expression goes, what do we have to lose,” Trump said during Friday’s press briefing.
“Tony would like, he would like samples done in a certain way,” Trump continued. “I understand that, too. Many doctors agree with that. We don’t have much time. We have a lot of very sick people right now.”
As the journalists present sought to split hairs over the official task-force position on the effectiveness of chloroquine reminded the American public that the drug’s effectiveness has not yet been tested.
While he hesitated to paint a prematurely optimistic picture, Fauci said in principle he agrees that the drug could work.
“I don’t disagree in the substance,” he explained. “It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.”
On most policies, however, Fauci told the Atlantic that Trump is more than willing to heed Fauci’s advice.
“When I’ve said, ‘I really think we should do this,’ he’s never said no and overruled my recommendation,” Fauci said. “When it comes to the core of what gets done, thankfully, he has listened to me.”
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.