Fauci calls White House criticism of him bizarre, says ‘let’s stop this nonsense’ and fight coronavirus
U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Wednesday called the White House effort to discredit him “bizarre” and urged an end to the divisiveness over the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying “let’s stop this nonsense.” Fauci, who has become a popular and trusted figure during the coronavirus outbreak, came under criticism from President Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies as Fauci cautioned against reopening the U.S. economy too soon. The recent spike in coronavirus infections, primarily in states that were among the earliest to lift coronavirus restrictions, put Fauci on a collision course with the White House. “One of the things that’s part of the problem is the dynamics of the divisiveness that is going on now that it becomes difficult to engage in a dialogue of honest evaluation of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong,” Fauci told The Atlantic in an interview. “We’ve got to own this, reset this and say OK, let’s stop this nonsense and figure out how can we get our control over this now.” The White House over the weekend distributed a list of statements Fauci made early in the pandemic that turned out to be wrong as understanding of the disease developed, according to media reports. Trump said this week he valued Fauci’s input but did not always agree with him. “You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don’t really fully understand it,” Fauci said in an interview with The Atlantic. He said he believed the people involved in releasing that list, which was misleading because it did not include the entirety of Fauci’s statements or other context, are really “taken aback by what a big mistake that was.” White House tensions with Fauci have risen with the decline of Trump’s popularity in opinion polls over the president’s handling of the outbreak.