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Trump retweets #FireFauci post, raising speculation of internal discord with top doc

The president and his advisors have slammed the media for attempting to create conflict where there is none among members of the coronavirus task force

President Trump at a White House coronavirus task force briefing
President Trump at a White House coronavirus task force briefing
(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
Updated: April 13, 2020 - 8:53am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

President Trump on Sunday evening fired off a series of tweets and a retweet that are increasing speculation about his fragile relationship with several of his top health advisers.

Following an interview given to CNN by Dr. Anthony Fauci and a report by the New York Times, the president defended the timeline of his actions pertaining to the spread of the coronavirus.

“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up,” Trump tweeted. His words were a response to a tweet critical of Dr. Fauci’s interview by former Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine.

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked if earlier implementation of “stay at home” policies would have saved lives, he replied,“It’s very difficult to go back and say that … Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”

Fauci also discussed the gradual re-opening of the economy, which he said could happen as soon as May in some places, depending on continued infection rate and widespread availability of quick-testing.

Governors will continue to hold major influence over when their states re-open for business. Several said this weekend that they have no plans to relax guidelines in their states before widespread testing is available.

Trump continued his late-night twitter tirade by disparaging the New York Times' article, which alleges that he underplayed the severity of the pandemic in its early days, despite warnings from top health and economic advisors.

Trump pointed out that he was criticized for issuing a travel ban from China during the early days of the crisis, and that he was not briefed in full by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar or economic advisor Peter Navarro until later. 

Fauci and Navarro have each criticized the media for attempting to sew narratives of tension and discord within the White House task force during the handling of the pandemic crisis.

Navarro notably criticized CBS's "60 Minutes" coverage of the administration’s response to the pandemic. When asked whether intelligence community reports warned the administration of the threat back in January, he retorted, “This is like the fake news stuff.”

“You can line up every president since (the 1917 Spanish Flu) and then say, ‘Why didn’t you think this could happen again,’ but that’s not productive right now,” continued the advisor to the president.

Navarro continued to rebuff the criticism from host Bill Whitaker, saying, “Show me the 60 Minutes episode a year ago, two years ago or during the Obama administration, during the Bush administration, that said, ‘Hey a global pandemic’s coming, you got to do XYZ and by the way we would shut down the entire global economy to fight it. Show me that episode then you’ll have some credence in terms of attacking the Trump administration for not being prepared.”

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