At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration put medical experts front and center in an effort to reassure the public that it was tackling the health crisis. Now, as NBC News’ Josh Lederman points out, the administration is going to war with itself by allowing its “vicious internal power battles” to be on full public display months before an election that polls show Trump is losing.
“In the span of a few days, the White House launched an anonymous smear campaign against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the nation, then turned on the presidential trade adviser when he did the same thing on the record,” Lederman writes, adding that the CDC and the HHS are publicly feuding over hospital data, along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence dismissing CDC warnings about children returning to school.
Then there was the undermining of the White House’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci — a campaign to discredit him that originated from the White House itself. When it became clear that effort was backfiring, the administration backed off. Now, two White House officials speaking to NBC News says that Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows “wasn’t happy” with the effort to discredit Fauci.
“This is such an incredible distraction from what we need to be talking about as a nation, and that’s how do we follow the roadmap that public health is laying out so that we can get this under control,” Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting CDC director, said on MSNBC. “It’s just mind-boggling that that’s where we are in terms of responding to this pandemic.”
Read the full report over at NBC News.