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Trump Aides Undercut Fauci as He Speaks Up on Virus Concerns

  • July 13, 2020

A poll conducted for The New York Times by Siena College last month showed that 67 percent of Americans trusted Dr. Fauci when it came to the virus; only 26 percent trusted the president.

With the United States leading the world by a large margin in both cases and deaths, Dr. Fauci has grown more outspoken recently in interviews with his concerns about the virus, even as Mr. Trump has tried to push for states to reopen faster and has threatened to withhold federal money from school districts if they do not reopen in the fall.

In an interview on a podcast with last week, Dr. Fauci said that a few states had the virus under control but that “as a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.”

By contrast, Mr. Trump has tried to play down the threat almost without interruption while making false claims about how quickly and effectively his administration has responded to it.

White House officials would not speak for the record. But a senior administration official said the document provided to The Post was intended to push back on any belief that the administration was negligent if it did not always adhere to Dr. Fauci’s words. The official argued that people who disliked Mr. Trump outside the administration had given outsize value to Dr. Fauci’s voice.

And in a White House where almost everything is treated in terms of how it relates to Mr. Trump, staff frustrations with Dr. Fauci have run high for months.

Last week, Mr. Trump told Fox News that Dr. Fauci had been wrong about many aspects of the pandemic. Dr. Fauci “is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” the president said.

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