There can be little doubt now that Donald Trump’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the defining chapter of his presidential story. Over 218,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus, in large part because this president failed from the beginning to treat it with the seriousness it demands, choosing instead to mislead the public about the outbreak. He continues to spread misinformation about COVID-19, managing to botch even simple messaging about the importance of wearing masks.
The New York Times reports that earlier today journalists were able to listen in on a phone call between Trump and his campaign staff during which the president attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“People are tired of Covid. People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong,” said Trump. He went on to add that Dr. Fauci might be a “nice” guy but that, “He’s been here for 500 years,” as if Fauci’s multi-administration experience were a liability instead of a valuable asset.
The idea that the administration’s COVID-19 failures are because of the doctors and scientific experts is utterly ridiculous. If the president had heeded their council from the start the United States wouldn’t be lagging so far behind the rest of the world in its pandemic efforts. His attempts to scapegoat them now doesn’t change that basic fact.
Trump also called Dr. Fauci a “nice” guy but said that, “He’s been here for 500 years,” and added, “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster.” As usual, Trump is focused solely on television ratings and public perception. He has no interest in doing the actual work of fighting this virus, he just wants to claim publicly that he’s done a brilliant job.
The president’s deeply ignorant attack on Dr. Fauci and “these idiots” comes after a 60 Minutes interview which aired yesterday during which Fauci spoke bluntly about some of the administration’s failures.
“Absolutely not,” said Fauci when asked if he was surprised that Trump contracted COVID-19. “I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask. When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that’s gotta be a problem.’ And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”
Thankfully, the election is just a couple of weeks away. If we elect Joe Biden we can rest assured that the expertise of individuals like Dr. Fauci will be valued and their advice implemented. Maybe then America will finally turn things around and catch up to the rest of the world.
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