Not long after a report from The New York Times claimed there is friction between President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Vanity Fair is reporting that the president is “furious” at the doctor and other public health experts who are suggesting an economic shutdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“Trump is furious,” one Republican former West Wing official told Vanity Fair writer Gabriel Sherman of the alleged internal West Wing conversations on the issue.
Another Republican briefed on the conversations claimed that Trump is considering going against Fauci’s advice, supporting other reports of an economic pivot on the coronavirus approach.
“He’s been calling business leaders asking if he should just reopen the economy.”
A second Republican former West Wing official claimed Trump is being pressured to “get the economy going.”
The report comes not long after Trump took to Twitter Sunday night to hint at a possible shift in his approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” he tweeted, adding that a decision will be made at the end of the 15-day period.
According to The New York Times, Trump has let Fauci get away with pushing back on his COVID-19 messaging because he understands that the public, as well as journalists, view him as a credible source. Nevertheless, it was noted that the president continues to resist painting the coronavirus as an “existential threat,” as many health experts have. In particular, his frustration with Fauci is allegedly due to calls for social distancing, which he and some Republican lawmakers in the White House reportedly believe is putting the economy on the back burner.
After Trump basically labels a reporter's question about a lack of surgical masks as fake news, Fauci takes the mic and tells the reporter, "you're not making things up. I know that." pic.twitter.com/3Yq5iQ1a5b
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 21, 2020
Per Vanity Fair, sources suggest Trump is leaning toward telling Americans to return to work after the 15-day social distancing period comes to an end on Match 31. According to Sherman, such reports are fueling worries that the president is on a “collision course” with Fauci.
“Fauci is the best medical expert we have,” a former White House official told Sherman. “We can’t lose him.”
During his recent interview with Science, Fauci acknowledged the risk of going against the president but showed no signs of letting up.
“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.”
Fauci also said during the interview that his disagreements with Trump are typically over the way he expresses himself rather than the substance of what he says.
“It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject,” he said.