While most agree that being aware of the government’s response during a pandemic in addition to being provided accurate information by health officials is really important, some seem to think otherwise. The Trump administration and its supporters have continuously downplayed the severity of this virus alongside discrediting those who provide honest assessments of the novel coronavirus crisis.
Among those rejecting Donald Trump’s response to COVID-19 is Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, who has provided assessments and health recommendations since the beginning of the pandemic. Last week, Fauci testified in a House subcommittee hearing on the novel coronavirus; on Wednesday he told CNN that he has received death threats from those who oppose his input resulting in him having to acquire security to protect his family.
“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it’s amazing,” Fauci said, noting that crises bring out the best and worst of people. “I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that people who object to things that are pure public health principles are so set against it and don’t like what you and I say, namely in the world of science, that they actually threaten you,” he added.
He and his wife alongside his three daughters who live in separate cities although stressed with the threats are doing “fine,” Fauci told CNN. While he did not go into details of what the threats and harassment consisted of on Wednesday, in an interview with Politico’s Pulse Check podcast released Thursday, Fauci was more specific about the threats and added that he has worked to ignore the conspiracy theories about him online.
“There’s one thing about that nonsense that I do object to, and that is the effect that it has on my family,” Fauci said. “Because when you get death threats that require you having security protection all the time, and when they start hassling your children on the phone and at their job and interfering with their lives, that pisses me off. I must say.”
News of Fauci receiving threats is not new. During an interview on the podcast “The Axe Files” in July, Fauci shared that he and his family were facing “serious threats,” HuffPost reported. According to The Hill and The Washington Post, Fauci has had his own personal security detail at all times due to threats dating back to April.
Fauci noted a lack of trust within the country for officials that he said contributes to an ideology of “anti-science” resulting in people less likely to follow health recommendations to slow the spread of the virus including wearing masks. “There is a degree of anti-science feeling in this country, and I think it is not just related to science. It's almost related to authority and a mistrust in authority that spills over,” he told CNN Wednesday. “In some respects, scientists, because they're trying to present data, may be looked upon as being an authoritative figure, and the pushing back on authority, the pushing back on government, is the same as pushing back on science,” he added.
Trump and his administration’s consistent efforts to discredit Fauci’s expertise do not help the issue of “anti-science” present in the U.S. According to The Hill, Fauci, as a world-respected disease expert, has advised six presidents on health crises including Ebola, Zika, and HIV/AIDS, however, this doesn’t seem to matter to Trump because his ego has taken a hit from Fauci’s blunt nature. As Fauci provides accurate information against the failures of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, Trump and his minions grow angrier.
Most recently, Trump tweeted a portion of Fauci’s House testimony Saturday, regarding why the U.S. has recorded more cases than European countries and called it “wrong!” Trump has repeatedly denied the number of cases the U.S. has risen, claiming the country’s cases only appear higher than other nations due to increased testing in the U.S. The discrediting doesn’t end there; White House trade adviser Peter Navarro published an op-ed in USA Today July 14, attacking Fauci claiming that: “Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on.”
As of Aug. 6, more than 4.8 million people in the U.S. have been infected by the novel coronavirus and at least 159,500 have died as a result of COVID-19. Since last week the U.S. has maintained an average of more than 55,000 cases per day, according to The New York Times database.