On Sunday President Donald Trump shared a Twitter message from a former Republican Congressional candidate who called for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s firing after his comments on Trump’s handling of coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and leading medical expert of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, made a Sunday CNN appearance in which he suggested the Trump administration was slow to act on coronavirus and could have saved more lives if social distancing guidelines were enacted sooner. Trump retweeted a post by California Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine, in which she wrote “#FireFauci.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
While Trump retweeted Lorraine’s initial tweet, he did not share her hashtag calling for Fauci to be fired. In his tweet, Trump emphasized a Jan. 31 presidential proclamation in which he barred those who had been to China within 14 days from entering the U.S. “I banned China long before people spoke up,” Trump said.
The #FireFauci hashtag was trending on Twitter throughout Monday morning, as users shared opinions around the hashtag and both Trump and Fauci’s history of commentary regarding the coronavirus.
During the CNN segment in question, Fauci responded to reports the administration discussed recommending social distancing as far back as the third week of February, but only began such distancing about a month later.
During the CNN interview, Fauci said that it is difficult to go back and assess what could have been done differently but “obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could have saved lives, obviously no one is going to deny that but what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
Lorraine’s tweet claimed Fauci made news appearances on Feb. 29, assessing that with coronavirus “there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large.”
In one appearance on NBC’s “Today,” Fauci was asked whether Americans needed to begin changing their habits regarding going out in public to places like malls, movie theaters, and gyms. Fauci did say, “Right now there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now the risk is low, but that could change.”
According to White House aides who spoke with the Wall Street Journal, Trump and Fauci have been at odds recently over social distancing measures and the effectiveness of antimalarial medicines, such as hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has touted as a potential treatment.
Fauci has pushed back on some reports of a rift with the president regarding the antimalarial treatment. In one interview segment with the Morning on the Mall Podcast, Fauci criticized media reports of a major difference of opinion over the treatments and said “That is really unfortunate. I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. There really fundamentally at the core … are not differences.”
The death toll has not been the only issue at stake with the coronavirus. NPR reported that in a three week period, encompassing much of the time period that the social distancing guidelines have been in place, approximately 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment.