Perhaps no figure in Washington has caused more damage over the last year than Dr. Anthony Fauci. The once-obscure government bureaucrat has taken a leading role in pushing disastrous lockdowns and mask mandates. He also championed a vaccine strategy that possibly kneecapped the effectiveness of the roll-out. Through all that, Fauci has been relentlessly arrogant despite his many, many mistakes and misstatements.
Given that, you’d expect Republicans to be unified around the idea that he’s not someone to be propped up or respected at this point. Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell didn’t get the memo, delivering this unbelievable endorsement of Fauci.
Minority Leader McConnell expresses confidence in Dr. Fauci: "I think he's the principal person we've relied on the last couple of years, that's become somewhat controversial, I gather. But, we have to take advice from somebody and…he's the most reliable witness I've seen." pic.twitter.com/wZvoDJCvZ1
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 5, 2021
Fauci is the most reliable witness we have in dealing with COVID? That’s based on what exactly? Him lying about masks and being wrong on vaccine efficacy? Or is it him choosing the wrong vaccination strategy while lying about the Trump administration’s response? Maybe it was Fauci laughably trying to take credit for the vaccine? Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s has become a partisan hack for Joe Biden?
I don’t know, but I’m thinking none of the above adds up to Fauci being a reliable witness on much of anything. McConnell knows all this so why give some boiler-plate, media-friendly praise of an undeserving figure when he has the chance to speak the truth about a situation? It makes the GOP looks divided and weak, something you’d think McConnell would want to avoid. While it may have been understandable to compliment Fauci back in April of 2020, it’s not understandable today.
I get that some Republicans like Mitch McConnell, and I’ve been known to dabble in a Cocaine Mitch meme every now and then. I don’t dislike the man, but his effectiveness as a leader has been greatly overstated, in my opinion. Most of his parliamentary machinations have boiled down to scheduling a vote and whipping his members. That’s laudable but hardly rocket science. On judges, he’s done an excellent job getting things done. On legislation, specifically conservative priorities, his record is much more mixed.
Regardless, Republicans deserve a leader who isn’t going to bend over backward to fluff Democrat partisans like Fauci. It makes the party look inconsistent and dumb. I’m confident there are other Senators out there with a deep understanding of senatorial procedure. Heck, McConnell could still operate in a kind of advisory role on that front if his expertise is that valuable. But to have someone so clearly out of touch with the majority of the party as one of its top leaders just makes no sense.