In the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has been providing the public with straight-forward updates on the deadly virus. Due to conflicting statements about COVID-19 by the president of the United States, which critics say are misleading, Dr. Fauci has countered some of President Donald Trump’s points and it has been frustrating the president, according to The New York Times.
President Trump understands that the general public and the media know that Dr. Fauci is deemed credible with the information he tells everyone. With that being the case, Trump has given him more leeway to contradict him than he has with any other officials in his camp. But the president doesn’t want the public to feel the threat is as serious as some public health experts have been saying.
In an interview recently published by Science Magazine, Dr. Fauci responds to questions about ‘surviving’ Trump’s contradictions at White House press conferences in response to the coronavirus outbreak. “Well, that’s pretty interesting because to [Trump’s] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”
Some reporters have questioned if the White House is encouraging people to practice “social distancing”, why is the stage at the press conferences showing the opposite? Dr. Fauci responds, “The situation on stage [for the press briefings] is a bit more problematic. I keep saying, “Is there any way we can get a virtual press conference?” Thus far, no. But when you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens. So, I’m going to keep pushing.”
For the past two days, Dr. Fauci has been absent from the press conferences and the public has taken notice. When Monday’s news conference began, Twitter started trending with the #WhereIsFauci hashtag, and reporters started questioning his absence.
According to USA Today, Trump said Fauci was at a task force meeting during the press briefing. “He’s a good man. I like Dr. Fauci,” Trump said. “He’s not here because we weren’t discussing” issues that he is best at addressing, the president said.