Report: White House Limiting Dr. Fauci’s Media Appearances, Worried Media Trying to Turn Him Against Trump
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s descent out of the media sphere is no accident. The White House is reportedly limiting the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s media presence so he doesn’t undermine President Donald Trump and his administration during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Washington Post reports:
The White House has blocked Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, from some appearances that he has requested to do in recent weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter. White House aides have argued that television interviewers often try to goad Fauci into criticizing the president or the administration’s approach, and that Fauci is not always good about “staying on message,” in the words of a senior administration official. Aides did allow Fauci to appear on CNN recently for a town hall, the official said.
When Covid-19 came to the forefront of national discussion beginning in March, Fauci quickly began one the most recognizable faces among the many government officials and health experts battling the pandemic. Polls showed him to be one of America’s most trusted leaders.
He appeared on most major cable news programs and diversified his appearances, from a 40-minute Instagram Live with Stephen Curry to an interview with Desus & Mero. In turn, some saw Fauci as a rival to Trump, who saw his scientific approach in opposition to Trump’s rhetoric about the virus.
When asked back in March about these perceived disputes with Trump, Fauci said, “What do you want me to do? I mean, seriously…let’s get real, what do you want me to do?”
Fauci’s interview appearances started to decline beginning in May and some in the media started to take note. On CNN’s Thursday primetime show Facts and Fears, host Anderson Cooper has noted over the past couple of weeks that no White House medical experts were made available for their program.
Still, Fauci has done some interviews over the last two months, mostly for online and print publications. On June 12, he spoke with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on a podcast about Trump. In the interview, Fauci said, “I am consistent. I stick by what I say.”
It’s unclear if Fauci’s media “blackout” will continue now the White House Coronavirus Task Force has resumed public briefings, this week holding its first one in two months. But the Post report does paint a clearer picture than what White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said about his media disappearance.
“Will we see Drs. [Deborah] Birx and Fauci any time soon?” Fox’s Bill Hemmer asked McEnany on June 16. “Because they seem to have disappeared.”
McEnany largely dodged the question, saying they’re still “hard at work” and that she’s “constantly gathering information from them.”
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