Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speak during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Monday, March 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Trump is not doing himself any favors by undermining the government’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The left is looking for any reason whatsoever to criticize the White House’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, and it doesn’t make sense to hand them the gun and the ammo to take their potshots.
During a press conference on Friday, the president appeared with Fauci to update reporters on the actions the administration is taking to address the pandemic. First, the press asked Fauci if a drug called hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat the infection. President Trump had previously touted the drug as a way to stop the spread of the virus.
Fauci answered, “No. The answer … is no.” He elaborated, “The information that you’re referring to specifically, is anecdotal. It was not done in a controlled clinical trial, so you really can’t make any definitive statement about it.”
The doctor, who has 30 years of experience dealing with afflictions such as HIV, SARS, MERS, and Ebola, explained that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering ways to use the drug for emergency use that will give the government data on its efficacy. Reporters then turned the question to President Trump, who seemed to contradict the director’s statements:
“I am a fan of that [drug] and we’ll see what happens. I have seen things that are impressive. We’ll see. We’ll know soon. When you get to safety, this is prescribed for many years for people to combat malaria, which was a big problem.”
The president continued, indicating that he is “positive” that the drug would be a viable solution:
“Everybody knows the level of the negatives and positives, but I will say that I am positive when it comes to particularly one of these drugs. We’ll see how it works. I am not saying it will but I think that people may be surprised. It is a game-changer. We’ll know very soon.”
To be fair, Trump also appeared to be trying not to directly contradict Fauci when he was asked about earlier comments Fauci had made. The director stated that there was no “magic drug” that would treat the illness. “It may work and it may not work. I agree with [Fauci]. It may work or may not. I feel good about it. Just a feeling. I am a smart guy, we’ll see soon enough.”
Fauci has also tried to avoid directly disputing the president. In an appearance on Fox News later in the day, the director clarified his remarks on the malaria drug. “You know, I’m not dismissing it at all, and I hope that that interpretation wasn’t widespread,” he said. “What I said is that we don’t have definitive proof that it works.”
This press conference was not the first time that the president appeared to go against the analysis of Dr. Fauci. A few weeks ago, he stated that it could take 12 to 18 months to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Shortly after, the president said that one might be ready “relatively soon.”
Anyone paying attention can see that President Trump’s team is working around the clock to find a solution to the spread of the coronavirus. However, while some high-profile Democrats have praised his response to the pandemic, the progressive media establishment is hell-bent on turning this situation into Trump’s Hurricane Katrina.
For this reason, it does not make sense for the president to go against the statements of the experts that work under him. Sure, he can say whatever he wants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his commentary is accurate or even helpful. Even worse, he is allowing the left to use his administration’s mixed messaging to criticize him.
CNN, Vox, and the rest of the usual suspects are already spinning this to make the president appear to be incompetent. I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. You’re about to tell me, “But they’re going to do that no matter what he does!”
You are correct. But in light of this reality, it seems unwise to make it easier for them. It’s much easier to defend Trump when he isn’t weighing in on this issue in a way that undermines the experts who work for him.
Others have expressed similar sentiments when it comes to the White House’s messaging on COVID-19. Several Republican lawmakers have suggested that the president allow Dr. Fauci to be the “face” of the government’s endeavor to find a medical solution to the virus. President Trump would be making things much easier on himself if he would heed their advice.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
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