Amid reports that President Donald Trump’s White House is attempting to undermine Dr. Anthony Fauci’s credibility, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham offered a defense of America’s top infectious disease expert, as Raw Story reported.
While speaking at a press event on Tuesday, Graham said that Fauci is “one of the smartest people” he knows.
“Has he been right all the time? No. We don’t have a Dr. Fauci problem. We need to be focusing on doing things to get us where we need to go. So, I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci.”
Graham also addressed reports that the White House is trying to undermine the coronavirus expert, who has frequently clashed with Trump amid the pandemic.
“I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly,” Graham said.
Back in March, Graham took a veiled jab at Trump by publicly stating he was listening to Fauci and the nation’s medical experts as opposed to “political punditry,” Business Insider reported. Graham made the comment amid a battle over reopening the American economy, as well as Trump’s controversial retweets of misinformation relating to COVID-19.
“There is no functioning economy unless we control the virus,” Graham tweeted at the time.
As reported by Business Insider, the White House’s purported plan to discredit Fauci comes after polls revealed that Americans view Fauci as more trustworthy than Trump. According to a referenced Washington Post report, the White House is circulating a list of talking points designed to suggest that Fauci was not taking coronavirus seriously enough when the outbreak began. Despite this claim, Fauci is a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force and has, at times, been at odds with Trump.
As Business Insider noted, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a statement on Monday, saying that taking Fauci’s comments out of context in order to discredit him would “do tremendous harm to our nation’s efforts to get the virus under control” and return to a standard way of life.
Jeremy Konyndyk, who oversaw the Barack Obama administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, claimed that Trump’s decision to ignore the advice of medical experts has posed a danger to the United States.
“And all I’m saying is, Fauci’s maybe not the main guy you should be worried about on that score,” he tweeted on Monday.
Fauci previously claimed that the White House prevented him from making multiple television appearances due to his unwillingness to put a positive spin on the pandemic, which has been escalating in recent weeks.