President Trump tweets video of Dr. Fauci defending the national lockdown, and criticizing WHO
A lot of people are really questioning whether it was wise for President Trump to keep Dr. Fauci in charge of our national coronavirus response, and he seemed to weigh in on the controversy in a tweet today:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
So, in the interview, Watters immediately demands that Fauci answer for what appears to be a poor response by him very early on to news from China that there was a virus loose. Fauci responds that he was working based on the information that was available at the time, and that much of it was disinformation from China and from the World Health Organization.
You can tell that he’s uncomfortable getting into the politics of the matter, but he makes it clear that much of the culpability lies with China, and the WHO.
Watters also makes him address whether we should have locked down completely given the new revisions to the models. Fauci says he’s humble enough to allow for the possibility that there might have been a better response, BUT, he completely defends the steps we took to stop the spread of the virus.
A very interesting interview, especially since Trump tweeted it today.
Fauci also defended the coronavirus response in this very good interview with Martha MacCallum:
In it, he admits that he’s not a fan of models the way his colleagues are, and he confirms much of the criticism that many are making against the models.
I think it’s fair to note also, that Fauci is enjoying a very high favorability rating in polling, even above that of Trump:
Quinnipiac poll: Fauci gets 78% approval rating for his handling or COVID-19 crisis, followed by “your state’s governor” at 74%.
Cuomo: 59% approve, 17% disapprove
Trump: 46% approve, 51% disapprove
Congress: 44% approve, 46% disapprove pic.twitter.com/Q22FKnvxJE
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) April 8, 2020
Of course, I think Trump’s numbers are lower just because Democrats aren’t willing to give him an inch on anything. Still, that Fauci sees such high marks shows Americans accept his judgment, even if it is severely difficult to shoulder.
There’s also a really great profile of Fauci in the New Yorker. It’s long but very comprehensive:
At seventy-nine, Fauci has run the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for thirty-six years, through six Administrations and a long procession of viral epidemics: H.I.V., sars, avian influenza, swine flu, Zika, and Ebola among them.
As a reporter who writes mainly on science and public-health issues, I’ve known Fauci since the H.I.V./aids epidemic exploded, in the mid-eighties. He once explained to me that he has developed a method for dealing with political leaders in times of crisis: “I go to my favorite book of philosophy, ‘The Godfather,’ and say, ‘It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.’ ” He continued, “You just have a job to do. Even when somebody’s acting ridiculous, you can’t chide them for it. You’ve got to deal with them. Because if you don’t deal with them, then you’re out of the picture.”
Since his days of advising Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Fauci has maintained a simple credo: “You stay completely apolitical and non-ideological, and you stick to what it is that you do. I’m a scientist and I’m a physician. And that’s it.” He learned the value of candor early. “Some wise person who used to be in the White House, in the Nixon Administration, told me a very interesting dictum to live by,” he told me in 2016, during a public conversation we had at the fifty-year reunion of his medical-school class. “He said, ‘When you go into the White House, you should be prepared that that is the last time you will ever go in. Because if you go in saying, I’m going to tell somebody something they want to hear, then you’ve shot yourself in the foot.’ Now everybody knows I’m going to tell them exactly what’s the truth.”
Americans have come to rely on Fauci’s authoritative presence. Perhaps not since the Vietnam era, when Walter Cronkite, the avuncular anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” was routinely described as the most trusted man in America, has the country depended so completely on one person to deliver a daily dose of plain talk. In one national poll, released last Thursday, seventy-eight per cent of participants approved of Fauci’s performance. Only seven per cent disapproved.
I know that in times of crisis it’s a real temptation to seek simple and easy solutions to difficult problems, but often that which sounds too good to be true often is exactly that. Sometimes, we really just need to accept that there are no easy solutions, there are only tradeoffs.