President Donald Trump is once again vilifying a key member of his own virus response task force, National Institute of Allergies and Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci recently pushed back against the Trump campaign's deceptive use of Fauci describing the work of the task force. The ad falsely implied that Fauci was praising Trump's response to the virus, which polls at 35 percent approval with the public.
Fauci said of the campaign ad
"In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed nor do I now endorse any political candidates. The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials."
Fauci pushed back even harder after Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said that they had no intention of pulling the ad.
"By doing this against my will, they are in effect harassing me. Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off."
In what may not come as a surprise, Trump began tweeting about Fauci, claiming the decades-long pandemic expert was a better baseball pitcher than doctor.
Actually, Tony's pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications. “No problem, no masks". WHO no longer likes Lockdowns - just came out against. Trump was right. We saved 2,000,000 USA lives!!! https://t.co/YyLyCsbZ7a
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2020
Fauci enjoys much more public favor than Trump—a fact that Trump has lamented before.
His bashing of Fauci on Twitter didn't do the President any favors.
Attacking the widely-respected Dr. Tony Fauci while holding potential superspreader rallies throughout battleground states.
Seems like a great way to win back those seniors and women voters concerned about how he's handled the pandemic. https://t.co/bMSEiDz1Rz
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 13, 2020
Definitely the smart political play to get into a dispute with America's most trusted doctor in the middle of a pandemic. This is some 9th dimensional chess right here. https://t.co/HFwFeuJfaA
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) October 13, 2020
The president is mocking and attacking his top infectious disease expert as the pandemic death toll fast approaches a quarter of a million. To quote @BrendanNyhan what would you say if you saw this is another country? https://t.co/dhFKwadIkC
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 13, 2020
Several people have pointed out Trump's inconsistency: He (dishonestly) uses Fauci in an ad to defend his own handling of the coronavirus, and then (dishonestly) criticizes him here. But you know what's consistent? Trump's lying in both instances. https://t.co/CiYXmWy94m
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 13, 2020
Dude launches an ad using praise from Dr. Fauci...
and then tries to tear him down.
If he's that inaccurate, why are you cherry-picking his quotes to put a fig-leaf on your failed #COVID19 response? https://t.co/e3xS2LJd6c
— Abdul El-Sayed, MD, DPhil (@AbdulElSayed) October 13, 2020
They soon began roasting him.
The moron vs. the world class scientist--an unfair fight that has already cost us 215,000 lives. https://t.co/yDfT7XSO0I
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) October 13, 2020
Shameful behavior - but not surprising. @realDonaldTrump can't even fake being a real president taking responsibility for his actions. https://t.co/CKpjI7RcSd
— Fernando Espuelas (@EspuelasVox) October 13, 2020