Monday’s New York Times hosted Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert, former coronavirus advisor to Donald Trump, and media darling, as he again unloaded on Trump: “Fauci on What Working for Trump Was Really Like.”
Yet as the pandemic spread in early spring, back when sound advice could have saved thousands, Fauci insisted that the public shouldn't be wearing masks. He later admitted to conjuring up herd immunity numbers. Now Fauci is even recommending people wear two masks (up from zero), but no one is calling him out for discouraging their use in March 2020.
Donald McNeil Jr. buttered up Fauci in his Q&A with the doctor, who is reportedly the highest-paid federal employee in the country, while avoiding the missteps and false statements that have tarnished Fauci’s reputation.
As the coronavirus ravaged the country, Dr. Fauci’s calm counsel and commitment to hard facts endeared him to millions of Americans. But he also became a villain to millions of others. Trump supporters chanted “Fire Fauci,” and the president mused openly about doing so. He was accused of inventing the virus and of being part of a secret cabal with Bill Gates and George Soros to profit from vaccines. His family received death threats….
As one could guess from that introduction, McNeil’s questions were wholly sympathetic (a sampling are in bold type below):
When did you first realize things were going wrong between you and President Trump?
McNeil gave Fauci the room to criticize Trump’s missteps and tried to blame Trump for death threats circulated online by extremists: "When did the death threats start?"
After Fauci described being sent a threatening envelope of powder, McNeil followed up:
Did you alert anyone around him? As in, “Hey, you’re going to get me killed?”
Did anyone close to Mr. Trump ever say, “We were wrong, you were right”?
Even after he got so sick that he had to be flown to Walter Reed hospital?
Was nobody else advising him: “Hey, maybe we ought to pay attention to the science?” Jared Kushner? Mike Pence?
Let me ask: Do you think Donald Trump cost the country tens or hundreds of thousands of lives?
Fauci didn’t answer that directly.
McNeil had plenty of space to ask Fauci to justify his discouraging the general public from using facemasks early on in the pandemic. But McNeil didn’t. He also didn’t question Fauci for admitting he had played loose with the percentage of how many U.S. residents needed to be vaccinated for “herd immunity” to kick in.
McNeil has authoritarian tendencies on health issues: He praised the Chinese Communist Party and Communist Cuba for their thuggish methods of coronavirus control.