No one is enjoying the arrival of the Biden administration more than Dr. Anthony Fauci.
After a year of serving under Trump’s regime, Fauci’s once again making press appearances where he seems practically giddy at the thought of a Commander-in-Chief who believes in science and values facts over propaganda. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has advised seven U.S. presidents during various health crises, but now, with Trump out of office, he’s getting candid about how difficult it was to manage the COVID-19 outbreak under the reality TV star’s administration.
Fauci, who received death threats from Trump supporters and seemed to constantly be in President Trump’s crosshairs for refusing to downplay the pandemic, told the New York Times that his “anxiety” started to escalate when New York City was hit with an onslaught of cases and Trump wanted to downplay the numbers:
“It coincided very much with the rapid escalation of cases in the northeastern part of the country, particularly the New York metropolitan area. I would try to express the gravity of the situation, and the response of the president was always leaning toward, ‘Well, it’s not that bad, right?’ And I would say, ‘Yes, it is that bad.’ It was almost a reflex response, trying to coax you to minimize it. Not saying, ‘I want you to minimize it,’ but, ‘Oh, really, was it that bad?”
Fauci began to grow even more concerned over Trump’s tendency to believe anecdotes from his business partners rather than the scientifically-proven data Fauci was giving him:
“The other thing that made me really concerned was, it was clear that he was getting input from people who were calling him up, I don’t know who, people he knew from business, saying, ‘Hey, I heard about this drug, isn’t it great?’ or, ‘Boy, this convalescent plasma is really phenomenal’ And I would try to, you know, calmly explain that you find out if something works by doing an appropriate clinical trial; you get the information, you give it a peer review. And he’d say, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, this stuff really works.’ He would take just as seriously their opinion — based on no data, just anecdote — that something might really be important. It wasn’t just hydroxychloroquine, it was a variety of alternative-medicine-type approaches. It was always, ‘A guy called me up, a friend of mine from blah, blah, blah.’ That’s when my anxiety started to escalate.”
Basically, Trump sounds like everyone’s conservative suburban aunt who spends too much time on Facebook and WebMD, but instead of just spewing eye-rolling nonsense over your family’s monthly Zoom call, he was telling millions of American’s to inject bleach into their veins or to start taking drugs with dangerous side effects. That’s when Fauci knew things were bad.
“I just said, ‘Oh my goodness gracious.’ I could just see what’s going to happen,” Fauci told CNN about Trump’s suggestion that disinfectant might fight the virus. “You’re going to have people who hear that from the President and they’re going to start doing dangerous and foolish things, which is the reason why, immediately, those of us who were not there said, ‘This is something you should not do.’ Be very explicit. The (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) came out, I think, the next day and put in one of their publications, ‘Do not do this.'”
The good news? Now that Biden is in office, things seem to be looking up for Fauci and the virology experts that work for him. He’s already admitted how “liberating” it’s been to give White House press briefings that focus solely on facts and data, and the new administration seems intent on ramping up the government’s response to the pandemic, which continues to ravage nearly every part of the country.
We’ve all been suffering, but we’ll give Fauci this win. He deserves it.