Donald Trump has bungled his response to the massive COVID-19 epidemic that has swept the globe while lashing out at reporters at the daily pressers and unleashing divisive tweets. Trump’s public health officials and some of his allies on Capitol Hill have been warning against risking higher infection rates and deaths for the sake of boosting the economy. Still, it appears that the president is champing at the bit to end the practice of social distancing soon, even though it’s necessary to flatten the coronavirus curve.
Trump seems more focused on the economy than saving American lives, likely because it, along with the volatile stock market, could doom his chances of being reelected. So, according to a report in Vanity Fair, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is the target of Trump’s wrath. Along with Fauci, Trump is also upset with the country’s governors, according to the report, for advocating “for shutting down large swathes of the economy” to stop the coronavirus epidemic.
“Trump is furious,” a former West Wing official told the outlet. “He’s been calling business leaders asking if he should just reopen the economy.”
“Sources say that Trump is leaning toward telling at least some Americans to return to work after the 15-day social-distancing period ends on March 31,” Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman reports. “This puts Trump on a potential collision course with Fauci that many fear will end with Fauci being fired or quitting. ‘Fauci is the best medical expert we have. We can’t lose him,’ a former White House official said. Signs of tension between Trump and Fauci have been emerging.”
The New York Times reported that the president has become frustrated with Fauci over his blunt approach, “which often contradicts things the president has just said, according to two people familiar with the dynamic.” The news outlet reports that Trump is aware that Fauci is seen as credible to the public, “so he has given him more leeway to contradict him than he has other officials.” But Trump’s attitude on Fauci appears to be shifting quickly.
A huge majority of Americans think the governors, according to a newly released Monmouth University poll, are doing a good job responding to the virus. Their approval rating is far better than Trump’s. Fauci hasn’t been polled, but we’re sure his approval rating would be as good as the governors — or even better. And if Trump fires Fauci, the president’s approval rating will go down faster than Melania on allowance day.
Featured image via Political Tribune gallery
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