Trump's Rebuke Of Fauci Encapsulates Rejection Of Science
Trump broke with Fauci, who has served under six presidents, on Wednesday over the infectious disease expert's warnings that getting businesses and schools back open too quickly would lead to unnecessary suffering and death.
"I was surprised by his answer, actually," Trump said. "It's just, to me it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools."
The delicate dynamic between Fauci and Trump has been watched for months. Its latest fraying marks the most pronounced clash yet in the tussle between science and politics that has long plagued the administration's fight against the coronavirus.
Fauci's transgression is to base his evaluations, after decades of public service and expertise fighting HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika and anthrax, on facts and logic that conflict with Trump's chosen version of reality. Trump has always been battling the pandemic he wants to fight, rather than the one that actually exists, with a strategy shaped mostly by his political requirements as he seeks a second term. The pandemic arrived in the US despite his insistence that it would not be a problem. Now, with over 8000 Americans dead and more than 1.3 million infected, Trump argues that the country has prevailed over the virus and it's time to get back to work.
Trump's swipe at Fauci comes as CNN reported that the White House is questioning whether the Covid-19 death toll is being exaggerated in official statistics. In fact, Fauci said Tuesday that the murderous impact of the virus was likely being undercounted.
Rising attacks on Fauci have taken their toll on his standing with the President's supporters. In a new CNN/SSRS poll, 84% of Republicans say they trust Trump to give them information on the virus and only 61% of the same slice of the electorate say they trust Fauci.
But the President, who is making a huge gamble by backing state openings that experts like Fauci say risk causing many deaths, has had about as much as he can take of the doctor's truth telling.