Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions on efforts to get back to work and school during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Washington to return. DC, June 30, 2020.
Al Drago | Reuters
The White House is trying to To discredit Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, as it marginalizes him and his bleak warnings of the deficiencies in the US coronavirus response.
A White House official told NBC News that "several White House officials are concerned about how many times Dr. Fauci has been wrong". The official sent NBC News a long list of previous comments from Fauci at the start of the pandemic, including Fauci, who said in January that the coronavirus was "not a major threat" and "not driven by asymptomatic carriers," and Fauci's March comment that " People should "not walk around with masks. "
Many of the earlier statements for which the White House criticized Fauci are based on the best data available at the time and have been largely repeated by Trump, other members of the task force, and senior White House officials. As General Surgeon Jerome Adams told CBS News on Sunday, "If you learn more, change these recommendations. Our recommendations have changed."
The attacks on Fauci come as the coronavirus rises nationwide, which Trump has repeatedly downplayed due to increased testing rather than increased infections. Florida reported over 15,000 new cases on Sunday, most of which a state has reported in a single day since the pandemic started. The United States exceeded 70,000 new coronavirus cases nationwide for the first time on Friday.
The list distributed by the White House is strikingly similar to opposition research, which political candidates often distribute to the media via their opponents.