President Trump used his Twitter feed Monday to spread criticism of top health officials, including Anthony Fauci, in regard to the pandemic. The move comes as the White House and Trump himself have been increasingly critical of Fauci, who has publicly disagreed with the president at times. Last week, for example, Fauci said Trump's statement that 99% of coronavirus cases were "harmless" was incorrect. Coverage:
- Retweet: On Monday morning, Trump retweeted this from former game show host Chuck Woolery: "Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it."
- Another: Trump retweeted it without comment, as he did with another from Woolery: "There is so much evidence, yes scientific evidence, that schools should open this fall. It's worldwide and it's overwhelming. BUT NO.”
- On Fauci: The Monday dig against Fauci that was retweeted by Trump originally came from Woolery's podcast partner and fellow conservative Mark Young, per Politico. "So based on Dr. Fauci and the Democrats, I will need an ID card to go shopping but not to vote?" he wrote.
- A campaign: Trump and the White House also have been publicly dissing Fauci of late, with Trump saying Fauci has "made a lot of mistakes." Beyond that, the White House has declared what the Politico Playbook describes as "open season" on Fauci by calling attention to things he said in the early days of the pandemic. Over the the weekend, an anonymous official released a statement saying that "several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong," reports the Washington Post.
- Examples: The White House called attention to this comment from Fauci on Feb. 29: "At this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.” But as the New York Times reports, they neglected to include what he said next: "Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread." He added that this could become a "major outbreak." In an analysis at the Washington Post, Aaron Blake has an annotated list of all this, adding context to the items listed by the White House.
- A denial: The Post reports that Fauci is effectively sidelined and does not brief Trump anymore. But White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denies that he no longer has a voice, reports the Hill. Fauci "is one member of a team, but rest assured, his viewpoint is represented and the information gets to the president through the task force," she said on Fox & Friends.
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