US President Donald Trump has come under sharp criticism after retweeting a hashtag calling on the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci has, since 1984, served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is one of the key members of the US coronavirus task force.
The United States has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic over the last several weeks and Fauci has appeared to contradict a lot of the president’s statements regarding the disease.
Dr. Fauci recently told one major news network during an interview that he felt the slow response by the Trump administration to the pandemic may have cost lives. Fauci has also gone on record contradicting Trump’s claims that a readily available malaria drug could be used to treat COVID-19.
The reaction to the president’s retweet was immediate. First, White House officials moved to quell any growing fears that Trump was planning to go ahead with the move, noting that at no point had the president considered firing Dr. Fauci.
A statement released by the White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley also blamed the media for this “ridiculous chatter” adding that Fauci is and remains a trusted advisor to the president. Trump was also quick to allay these fears during the daily White House coronavirus briefings on Monday. The president noted “I like him. He is terrific.”
Firing Dr. Fauci could be a huge miscalculation for the president. So far, he seems like he’s enjoying a lot of bipartisan support across the public. A recent poll in fact showed that Fauci’s approval ratings among Democrats and Republicans were nearly 80%. There was also some reaction among lawmakers in Congress, all urging caution in the matter.
Johan Barrasso, Republican Senator from Wyoming noted that he has known Fauci for “over a dozen years” adding that he has “all the faith in the world in him.”
The same show of support was also echoed by the Republican senator from Florida Rick Scott who argued that, even though the president is free to pick whoever he wants to work around him, “my experience has been very positive with him (Fauci).” Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also weighed in, noting that he feels Fauci’s voice is crucial in the current crisis.
Trump has of course grown very discontented with the current state of affairs. The United States is currently on a full economic shutdown with stay at home orders already in place in a majority of the states. Trump told reporters that he is hoping to get the country reopened by May 1st but that timeline has already been dismissed as too early.
There are, however, signs that the infection rate in the US could be evening out, especially in New York, the hardest-hit state in the country. So far, the US has reported over 670,000 cases of the virus. There are also over 34,000 deaths.