This isn’t surprising in the least, in fact it’s been expected. Dr. Anthony Fauci does not get up and lie to make Donald Trump look good and in black and white Trump world, you’re either a devotee or an enemy, there is no middle ground. So the extreme fringe of Trump world is now out to get the man. Politico:
Fauci needs to go. His love letters to Clinton are all the proof I need the guy is a Hillary plant.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) March 24, 2020
“Disrespectful,” read a Monday headline on the right-wing Gateway Pundit, comparing Fauci to ousted general Stanley McChrystal.
The narrative has even started to migrate to Fox News, a key source of information for the president.
“He’ll still have a job at the end of this, whatever happens,” Fox News host Steve Hilton argued during his Sunday night monologue on “The Next Revolution.” “Our ruling class and their TV mouthpieces whipping up fear over this virus, they can afford an indefinite shutdown.”
This would be alarming in any event, but bear in mind that we are soon approaching a critical juncture in this coronavirus response saga. Trump has said he wants to see America return to work by Easter, which is April 12. Fauci is almost guaranteed to oppose that.
Fauci’s portrayal in conservative media circles could play a crucial role in the coming days as the country comes to the end of a 15-day period of social distancing and business closures intended to slow the coronavirus outbreak. While public health officials like Fauci have cautioned that the country will likely have to extend that period, Trump and his team are signaling that they want to get people back to work soon, by mid-April if possible. The cues from right-wing media, as split as they are, could influence how much Trump listens to Fauci.
“He obviously has the backing of the president right now, but a lot of people on the right in the grass roots are extremely skeptical of this entire coronavirus thing,” said Lee Stranahan, the host of “Fault Lines” on Sputnik Radio, a Russian government-backed media outlet. The coronavirus has killed hundreds in the United States and almost 20,000 worldwide, according to researchers and government officials, overwhelming hospitals and straining global medical supplies. Cases and deaths are expected to keep rising in the coming days.
For the moment, Fauci — director of the National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 — still has the respect of large swaths of Trump’s supporters, reflecting the unique fissures that have emerged in the MAGA movement during the coronavirus. Trump supporters who praise Fauci also tend to believe the president should employ swift, severe measures — and keep the economy shuttered — as long as necessary to keep coronavirus under control.
The MAGAts don’t like experts, but apparently some of them like Fauci. Let us hope that this continues to be the case. And never forget, Trump’s ego won’t let him tolerate anybody disagreeing with him for very long. Fauci is walking a fine line and he’s doing it admirably. He finessed his way out of the faceplant incident by saying that he got a lozenge caught in his throat. For all our sakes, I hope that the man stays around.