In a statement Saturday, a White House official told CNN that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong.” The official provided a long list of examples, citing Fauci’s comments at the beginning of the pandemic and linking previous interviews.
These bullets, which looked like an investigation into an opponent political, include Fauci minimizing the virus from the beginning and a quote from March when the specialist said: “People should not walk with masks”, among other comments.
The White House measure occurs when the president Donald Trump and Fauci have no communication. The tension between the two characters has grown publicly as they have both responded to each other through interviews and statements.
Fauci did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.
In a recent series of newspaper and radio interviews, Fauci, who has worked with six American presidents from both parties, sometimes disagrees with Trump.
“As a country, when we are compared to other countries, I don’t think it can be said that we are doing well. I mean, we just aren’t doing it, “Fauci said in an interview. In another, Fauci responded to the president’s assertion that “99%” of coronavirus cases in the United States were “completely harmless,” saying he did not know where the president got the number and suggesting that Trump’s interpretation ” It was obviously not the case. “
Trump has publicly criticized Fauci on national television.
“Dr. Fauci is a good man, but he has made many mistakes,” Trump said last week, undermining the public health expert whom Americans say in polls they trust more than the president.
In recent interviews, he openly questioned the advice he received from Fauci at the start of the outbreak.
“I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him, “Trump said in an interview Tuesday when asked about Fauci’s claim that the United States is still” knee-deep in the first wave “of the pandemic.
A senior administration official told CNN that some White House officials do not trust Fauci. According to the source, those officials think Fauci is not in the president’s best interest, pointing to interviews in which he openly disagrees with what Trump has said.
Other administration officials have told CNN that, although they disagree with Fauci’s methods, they do not doubt their motives, and that their only concern was public health.
House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said Sunday night that any effort by the White House to marginalize or discredit Fauci is “just outrageous.”
Schiff told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that such a move “is so characteristic of Donald Trump. He can’t bear the fact that the Americans trust Dr. Fauci and they don’t trust Donald Trump, so he has to take him down. “
“We need more than ever for people to tell the truth to power, to be able to level with the American people about what we are facing with this pandemic, how to control it, how to protect ourselves and our families,” Schiff continued. “That is what Dr. Fauci has been trying to do and, by setting it aside, the President is once again interfering with an effective response to this pandemic.”
Kathleen Sebelius, who served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN that efforts to discredit Fauci and other scientists are “potentially very, very dangerous” as the United States and other countries work to obtain a coronavirus vaccine.
“I think people want to know from scientists that the vaccine is safe, that it is effective, that it will do no more harm than good,” he told Blitzer in “The Situation Room.”
“And if public scientists have been discredited, if the president says ‘don’t believe them, you shouldn’t listen to them, they are often wrong’, then we have undermined a national vaccination campaign that is an essential step to end this horrible period.” .
In response to questions about the White House that appears to be actively discrediting Fauci, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for Health and Human Services Michael Caputo said there was no White House narrative against the scientists and provided a statement.
“We have great faith in the ability of all of our scientists and physicians in the coronavirus task force to impart the necessary public health information. People like Admiral (Brett) Giroir, Director General of Health (Jerome) Adams and others convey these messages very effectively, ”Caputo said in the statement, although he did not directly answer questions about Fauci.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this story.