Will Dr Fauci be Fired?
Tensions between the White House and Dr Fauci over Covid-19 moved up several notches this week. Trump advisers anonymously released a list of Fauci’s comments on the Covid-19 pandemic to multiple news outlets. The comments were made at the early stages of the outbreak and without context some of them appear to be wrong.
Next Peter Navarro, assistant to President Trump as Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing wrote an op-ed titled “Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have Interacted with him on.”
A History of Tension
When it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic Dr Fauci and the President are living in different perspectives. The President consistently predicts an optimistic end to the pandemic and showing a level of accomplishment for the work that has been done. Trump points out that no other nation has done the volume of covid testing as the US or been as successful in coordinating resources, treatments and re-opening the economy. The President also promotes the idea that Covid-19 only impacts a very minor percentage of the population. He has also called for all schools to open in the fall.
Dr Fauci cautions Covid could get worse over the next year. He calls for even more testing. In his testimony in front of the US Senate he warned “We’re not there yet” to safely reopen the country’s economy. He also contradicted the White House on shortages of supplies and preparedness. While Fauci acknowledges it is important to open schools as soon as possible, he says openings should be dependent on local conditions.
As the impact of Covid on different areas in the country increased, Dr Fauci did change his statements to increasing caution and alarm over the growing pandemic and the medical community’s’ ability cope.
Politics vs Public Health
Covid-19 became politized almost as soon as it was discovered. President Trump’s opponents challenged his every action and inaction. The public was consistently fed conflicting messages from politicians and healthcare professionals. Early on doubt about the importance of the health impact of Covid-19 was seeded in some of the population. As the pandemic evolves that doubt impacts every action.
Who is Dr Fauci?
Dr Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has held the position since 1984. NIAID is one of the 27 groups that make us the National Institutes of Health which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr Fauci has advised 6 different presidents on infectious diseases.
Can the President Fire Fauci?
Yes, but not directly. If President Trump wants to fire Dr Fauci, he would have to tell the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar release him. History says if President Trump decides Dr Fauci should go he would do so via a Friday evening tweet.
There is speculation that the administration is frustrated with Dr Fauci statements that are in conflict with the President’s, but Fauci is seen as a reliable source of information by too many of the people to be fired.