When President Donald Trump announced that he would hold a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on July 21, it was largely assumed that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, would be in attendance. However, an hour before the presser was to begin, Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he was not asked to join the president for Tuesday’s press briefing.
“I was not invited up to this point. I’m assuming I’m not going to be there,” said Fauci, who’s been a key leader of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force since the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in America.
Dr. Fauci on whether he's attending Trump's briefing today: “I was not invited up to this point. I’m assuming that I’m not going to be there.” pic.twitter.com/jdo1sRjfDz
— The Recount (@therecount) July 21, 2020
On Monday, while Fauci was being interviewed by Maria Shriver on Instagram Live, he appeared to be surprised to learn that the coronavirus task force briefings were being resumed. “Well, I don’t know if there’s even going to be a briefing (on Tuesday),” he said. “I don’t know that.
“I mean, I have not gotten official word of when the next one was. I was down at the White House just this afternoon,” Fauci continued. “If they start the briefings, I would imagine I’m going to be part of it, at least some of them.”
Tension Between Fauci & Trump Has Been Growing for Weeks
Acosta asked, “Why is the White House trashing Dr. Fauci and sending out opposition research like memos to reporters. The President has gone off on anonymous sources in the past, why not have the guts to trash Dr. Fauci with your own names?”
“So, President Trump, um, there is no opposition research being dumped to reporters,” McEnany responded. “We were asked a very specific question by the Washington Post and that question was President Trump had noted that Dr. Fauci had made some mistakes and we provided a direct answer to what was a direct question.”
Acosta followed up by asking, “Hasn’t the president made mistakes? He suggested at one point that Americans inject themself with disinfectants – that sort of thing. Why not send out these notes to reporters about what Dr. Fauci said in the past with your names on it? It was sent out by a White House official that the president said he doesn’t trust anonymous sources, and yet, you were sending out these notes to reporters anonymously?”
.@Acosta: Why is the WH trashing Fauci anonymously? I thought Trump didn't trust anonymous sources
McENANY: Trump noted that Trump has made mistakes
ACOSTA: Hasn't Trump made mistakes? He suggested Americans inject disinfectants
McENANY: The president stands by his actions pic.twitter.com/WFag2afFuF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 13, 2020
“I would note that in terms of the president and his record on coronavirus, he stands by the actions and steps he’s taken in his historic response,” McEnany said. “You have Dr. Fauci, who said, ‘The record of this president is impressive and I can’t imagine that under any circumstance that anyone could be doing more,’ and those are the words of Dr. Fauci.
“To the notion that there’s opposition research and that there’s Fauci versus the president couldn’t be further from the truth,” McEnany continued. “Dr. Fauci and the president have always had a very good working relationship.”
"When we use science, we have to use it in a way that is not political," Kayleigh McEnany says.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 13, 2020
Acosta’s fellow CNN reporter, Kaitlan Collins, confirmed there were no names on the report given to The Washington Post. She posted on Twitter, “There was no name on the statement and it was distributed to multiple outlets after being given to the Washington Post. The statement read in part, ‘Several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.’”
Former Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Said Trump’s Efforts to Discredit Fauci Are ‘Potentially Very Dangerous’
Kathleen Sebelius, who under former President Barack Obama served as secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN that if Trump is successful in convincing the public not to trust Fauci, the results could be “potentially very, very dangerous,” especially while America and other countries work to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
She said, “I think people want to know from the scientists that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective, that it will not do more harm than good. And if the public scientists have been discredited, if the President says ‘don’t believe them, you can’t listen to them, they’re often wrong,’ we have then undermined a national vaccination campaign which is an essential step to bringing this horrible period to an end.”
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff spoke his thoughts on the combative discourse between Trump and Fauci.
Schiff said, “We need people more than ever to speak truth to power, to be able to level with the American people about what we’re facing with this pandemic, how to get it under control, how to protect ourselves and our families. That’s what Dr. Fauci has been trying to do and by sidelining him the President is once again interfering with an effective response to this pandemic.”