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The White House targets Fauci because it disagrees with Trump over the virus

“Many White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fossey has erred in matters,” a White House official told CNN on Saturday. The official went on to provide a long list of examples, citing Fossey’s comments early in the epidemic and related to previous interviews.

These points, similar to opposition research about a political opponent, included Fauci downplaying the virus early and a quote from March when Fauci said, “People should not wander with masks,” among other comments.

The White House step comes as President Donald Trump and Fossey do not speak. The tension between the two men increased publicly as the two responded to each other through interviews and statements.

“As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we are doing a great job,” Fossey said in an interview. “I mean, we are not.” In another response, Fossey responded to the president’s claim that “99%” of coronavirus cases in the United States are “completely harmless”, saying he does not know where the president got the number, and he suggested that Trump’s interpretation “is not the case clearly.”

Trump has publicly criticized Fossey on national television.

Trump said last week, “Dr. Fossey is a nice guy, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” which undermines the public health expert who polls say Americans trust him more than the president.

In recent interviews, he publicly questioned the advice he had received from Fauci at the beginning of the outbreak.

“I think we’re in good shape. I disagree with him,” Trump said in an interview on Tuesday, when asked about Fossey’s assertion that the United States was “still on its knee in the first wave” of the epidemic.

A senior administration official told CNN that some officials inside the White House did not trust Fossey. According to the source, these officials believe that Fauci has no interest for the president, citing interviews as he publicly disagrees with what Trump said.

Other administration officials told CNN that while they had differences about Fauci’s methods, they did not question his motives, and that his only concern was public health.

Speaker of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said Sunday evening that any effort by the White House to marginalize Fushi or discredit him is “terrible.”
“This move is very special for Donald Trump. He cannot afford the fact that the American people trust Dr. Fauci and do not trust Donald Trump – and so he has to demolish him,” Chef Wolf Blitzer of CNN in the “parking room” told such a move.

Schiff continued: “We need people more than ever to tell the truth to power, so that we can balance the American people about what we face with this epidemic, how to control it, and how to protect ourselves and our families.” . “This is what Dr. Fossey was trying to do. And by marginalizing him, the President is once again interfering in the effective response to this epidemic.”

Kathleen Sebelius, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under former President Barack Obama, told CNN that efforts to discredit Fossey and other scientists were “potentially very serious” as the United States and other countries work toward the Coronavirus vaccine.

“I think people want to know from scientists that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective, and that it will not do more harm than good,” she told Blitzer in the “operating room”.

And if public scientists have lost their credibility, if the president says “Do not believe them, you cannot listen to them, they are often wrong”, then we undermined the national vaccination campaign, which is an essential step to end this terrible period.

In response to questions about the White House that appears to discredit Fauci, assistant secretary of public affairs for health and human services, Michael Kabuto, he said that there was no White House in exchange for the scholars ’account, and he made a statement.

“We have great faith in the ability of all of our scientists and doctors on the Coronavirus team to transmit the necessary public health information. People like Admiral (Brett) Geroyer and General Surgeon (Jerome) Adams and others carry these messages very effectively.” Kabuto said in the statement, although he did not directly answer questions about Fossey.

Fauci did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

This story has been updated with comments from Rep. Adam Schiff Kathleen Sebelius.

Kevin Liptak of CNN and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this story.

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