CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus USA: Pence defends Dr. Fauci despite criticism

Dr. Fauci has been criticised from all angles in the White House but Pence has backed the immunologist and Trump too during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus USA: Pence defends Dr. Fauci despite criticism
MANDEL NGAN AFP

Everybody has come to know Dr. Anthony Fauci as the calm and collected man standing beside or behind Donald Trump during the coronavirus briefings during what we thought was the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. He seemed a trusted member of Donald Trump's coronavirus response even though he admitted he had a 'complicated' relationship with Trump.

More recently, Trump and his White House have gone to great lengths to devalue Fauci's expertise after he questioned the president's response to the pandemic. The most recent criticism has come from Trump's top trade advisor, Peter Navarro, in a USA Today column even if the White House has publicly distanced itself from the article.

"Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on," wrote Navarro but Pence and Trump have since backed Fauci.

Mike Pence, Trump's vice-president, has backed Fauci despite the mixed messages coming from the White House. "Dr. Fauci is a valued member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force," Pence said after recent attacks on the doctor. "We just completed our latest meeting today and we couldn’t be more grateful for his steady counsel."

Trumped echoed those statements and seemed to back Fauci, if somewhat reluctantly: "We're all on the same team. Including Dr. Fauci."

Fauci says he is full of energy coronavirus pandemic drags on

Fauci has backed himself despite the recent criticism too. "And right now, with all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective," Fauci said. "I certainly am energetic. And I think everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job."

In an interview with the Atlantic recently, Fauci said the criticism does more harm than good for the president with polls incdicating the public have more faith in Fauci than they do in Trump when it comes to the coronavirus response.

“Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that,” Fauci told The Atlantic when asked why the president was trying to discredit him. “When the staff lets out something like that and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president."

The White House has criticised that column by Navarro too and Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, says the advisor took the decision on his own to publish it and should not have done so.

"Peter Navarro’s statement or op-ed or whatever you want to classify it as was an independent action that was a violation of well-established protocols that was not supported overtly or covertly by anybody in the West Wing," Meadows said. "I think Peter Navarro spoke for himself."

The word 'think', however, changes the conviction of the comments.

Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media, recently posted a carton to Facebook on which he referred to Dr. Fauci as Mr. Faucet depicting him flushing the US economy down the drain with his conservative opinions on re-opening the country.

"Sorry, Dr. Faucet!" he posted. "At least you know if I’m going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it’s done publicly – and not cowardly, behind journalists with leaks."