The Daily Beast is reporting that Donald Trump hunkered down in the White House over the Easter weekend, watching cable news programs and calling friends and allies asking what they think of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become for many the only reliable face on the White House coronavirus task force.
According to the report, the president thinks he made the infectious disease expert a "star" by featuring him prominently during his almost daily press conferences and is reportedly looking for feedback.
“'What do you think of Fauci?' the president repeatedly worked into his phone conversations over the past few days, the three sources said, as he pulsed his broader network of informal advisers, industry allies, and current staff on their opinions on the news of the day," the Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng reports. "At one point this weekend, Trump remarked that he’s made Fauci a 'star' and that barely anybody would have known who the doctor was were it not for the president putting him front and center in the administration’s coronavirus response, televised press briefings, and media strategy."
According to one source, the president, "... did not sound bitter about it, I wouldn’t say that. It just sounded like he thought it was worth a reminder.”
What may have set off the president was an appearance by the Fauci on CNN's "State of the Union," where, in a roundabout way,the doctor admitted that the White House dropped the ball on getting ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic that has already led to over 22,000 deaths in the U.S.
"Fauci’s comments did not go over well with certain officials working in the White House or on the president’s campaign, according to multiple aides, or with Trump supporters who are publicly protective of the president and his image," the report states. "' Dr. Fauci needs to be more careful choosing his words on #Coronavirus, & if he’s going to be critical, make clear what he personally could’ve done better,' Jason Miller, a former senior Trump adviser, posted to Twitter on Sunday."
According to the report, Miller was not the only critic of the doctor who is close to Trump and the White House, with Suebsaeng writing, "By Sunday afternoon, prominent Trump allies and surrogates were circulating links and documents showing how Fauci had been inconsistent or made faulty predictions about the virus in recent months, encouraging each other to share them or use them as talking points."
Of note, late Sunday the president retweeted a Twitter post that contained the hashtag: #Fire Fauci.
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