According to the publication’s sources, President Donald Trump’s advisers have limited Fauci’s television appearances, keeping the public health expert “out of the Oval Office.”
As one senior administration official put it, Fauci is “never in the Oval [Office] anymore.” He last briefed the president on the situation with the coronavirus pandemic during the first week of June. The two men have reportedly not spoken since.
Individuals briefed on the matter revealed that the White House has been growing increasingly frustrated with Fauci’s bluntness. The nation’s leading expert has made a number of statements critical of the Trump administration’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, repeatedly warning the public that the United States is handling the crisis worse than other countries.
“As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not,” he said in an interview last week.
According to one White House official, Fauci has not been sidelined due to his bluntness, but because he has made a number of major mistakes. The official provided The Washington Post with a “lengthy list” of misleading comments Fauci made at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
The list included Fauci’s suggestions that asymptomatic individuals cannot spread the virus, as well as the assessment he made in late February, when he told Americans that “there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day-basis.”
Trump has publicly criticized Fauci. During a recent interview with Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, the president said that the NIAD director is a “nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo has reportedly been tasked with approving Fauci’s television appearances. One senior administration official revealed that Fauci recently requested to appear on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, and that the request was rejected because the program is viewed as antagonistic toward the Trump administration.
“The speculation game doesn’t serve the public in any particular way. When it gets to handicapping and what’s going to happen next, get a cable news gig. We’ve conveyed that down to all the doctors,” the official explained.
As the publication noted, the scientist has found other ways to communicate with the public, holding virtual discussions and appearing on podcasts.
In an interview earlier this week, Fauci said that he hasn’t been on television as much in recent weeks because he refuses to sugar-coat things.