Writer Amanda Marcotte published a piece for Salon on Monday in which she outlined a possible “cynical plan” that Donald Trump has to scapegoat Anthony Fauci for his administration’s purported failure to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Marcotte pointed to the Sunday press conference when Trump prevented Fauci from answering a question about hydroxychloroquine. The antimalarial drug has shown potential for treating COVID-19 but comes with dangers, including nervous system damage, heart attacks, and psychological trauma.
According to Marcotte, this exchange hints at Trump’s possible plan.
“He’s starting to workshop the excuses he will use and the scapegoats he will sacrifice in order to escape the blame — which he richly deserves — for how badly this crisis spun out of control. And the person most in danger of becoming the primary scapegoat for Trump and his minions is Fauci himself.”
"I answered this 15 times. You don't have to answer." — Trump prevents Dr Fauci from answering a question about hydroxychloroquine pic.twitter.com/8R1K1hDsaX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020
The 42-year-old feminism and politics writer said that Trump’s “endless hype” behind the drug is part of a plan to eventually lean on a “QAnon-style conspiracy theory” about his attempts to save Americans from coronavirus with a “miracle drug” and the attempts to thwart such an effort by the “deep state.”
As reported by BuzzFeed News, right-wing influencers are already pushing theories that Fauci is working with Hillary Clinton to undermine Trump. According to the publication, the theory has made its way onto 4chan’s /pol/ message board, where users implicate Fauci in a “global pedophile ring” and “global Jewish cabal.”
Recently, Fox News host Tucker Carlson has taken aim at Fauci and accused him of causing “national suicide” through his push for social distancing, which has fueled the economic collapse amid the pandemic.
Marcotte called Fauci the “most obvious candidate” to become a “villain” for the conspiratorial right, pointing to the similar roles former FBI director James Comey and former special counsel Robert Mueller have inhabited in such theories. According to Marcotte, if the virus is successfully contained from social distancing, conservative pundits will not link them to a potentially lessened death toll but claim that quarantine was never really needed. In addition, she says they will claim that hydroxychloroquine, a “real solution,” was never considered due to pressure from deep state forces.
“And Fauci will be held up as the straw-man villain in this conspiracy because he supported social distancing and was skeptical of Dr. Trump’s miracle drug,” Marcotte wrote.
On Monday, the American Thoracic Society, a leading group of doctors who treat respiratory diseases, recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating coronavirus patients under certain conditions.