Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, finally appears to have snapped his streak of being apolitical about the Trump response to the pandemic.
While the message began as a warning for the country with a looming death toll in a second wave of infections, saying, “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” the interview he gave on Saturday went further.
Fauci said the United States needed an abrupt change in public health practices and behaviors, and then lamented that Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist, is the only medical advisor who regularly meets with the president.
Atlas advocates for letting the virus spread among healthy people and reopening the country without restrictions.
“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said of Atlas. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
When asked about the difference between Biden’s approach and that of the president, Fauci said Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective…..the economy and reopening the country.”
Fauci also appreciated the honesty from Mark Meadows when he said the administration was not going to control the pandemic.
“I tip my hat to him for admitting the strategy,” he said. “He is straightforward in telling you what’s on his mind. I commend him for that.”
The reactions came from the White House, beginning with Dr. Atlas.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere’s statement blatantly accused Fauci of playing politics days before the election.
“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” Deere said in the statement. “As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp.”
Fauci admitted he needed to be careful of his words because he feared he would be blocked from future appearances in the media.