How Anthony Fauci became America's doctor
April 12, 2020 4:25 PM   Subscribe

An infectious-disease expert’s long crusade against some of humanity’s most virulent threats. (SL The New Yorker) Since his days of advising Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Fauci has maintained a simple credo: “You stay completely apolitical and non-ideological, and you stick to what it is that you do. I’m a scientist and I’m a physician. And that’s it.”
posted by bluesky43 (53 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
“It is what it is.”

Real Profile in Courage there.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 4:26 PM on April 12 [8 favorites]


Yes. We could have saved thousands, but I soft-pedaled the solution even though the preznit is a moron. Here we are. Oh, well.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:30 PM on April 12 [13 favorites]


Is he really doing anything that outstanding? He's obviously experienced and good at what he does, I'm not knocking him, but I feel like it's mainly in contrast with the miserable ignorance and failures of Trump. Would we be reading articles about him if we had a competent President?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:44 PM on April 12 [23 favorites]


Could be the calculus from his perspective is that he stands up for the right choice, loses his job, and in the two months (or six months) it takes to hire his replacement the exponential infection rate of COVID-19 does its thing and the death toll goes from horrific to tectonic, with that delta at least partly on his hands.

I can’t say I envy his position.
posted by mhoye at 4:51 PM on April 12 [71 favorites]


When stupidity, racism, and a disregard for human lives are an ideology and a political stance, can a moral scientist or doctor really stay apolitical and non-ideological?
posted by mmoncur at 4:53 PM on April 12 [21 favorites]


He can probably do more good by being where he is. This is not a situation where making a political statement by quitting would actually have any use; Trump wouldn't *care*. And his replacement would almost certainly be worse.
posted by Belostomatidae at 5:23 PM on April 12 [33 favorites]


Nah, if we need to designate someone give it to Sanjay Gupta.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:30 PM on April 12


Would you have heard of Fauci otherwise?

Depends. If you lived through AIDS and paid even the tiniest bit of attention to research progress, then yes, you would have heard of him. Alternatively, if you paid any heed to Ebola, you’d have heard of him.

For example, per Wikipedia: In 2003, the Institute for Scientific Information stated that from 1983 to 2002, "Fauci was the 13th most-cited scientist among the 2.5 to 3 million authors in all disciplines throughout the world who published articles in scientific journals"
posted by aramaic at 5:31 PM on April 12 [32 favorites]


I am not a scientist, but I heard of him from 'this week in virology'. Those guys respect him, think he is an excellent scientist, and call him 'a master of the politics of science'.

That said, it still seems to me that he is not open enough with the public. I'd like to hear more of 'i recommended *this*, the president did *that*'. Just matter of fact truths about how it's going. I just can't help but interpret a lot of his commentary as super vague and protective of cheetoh.

I hope he retires right after this shitshow and tells the real story.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:55 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


It's appropriate for someone like Fauci to be non-ideological. It may or may not be appropriate for him to be non-partisan. His position is, however, inherently political... as is the pretense that he is not political, which may be necessary in order to manage the politics.
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:56 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


I really think, if he wants to save lives, he's doing the best he can in the impossible situation of working for a willfully incompetent, willfully - what's the opposite of compassionate? - a willfully, stubbornly uncaring boss.

Leaving his job and leaving it open to anyone the current president would let take that job would almost certainly result in even more deaths, and even more suffering for those who survive.

It looks to me like he's doing his best (in a probably very sleep-deprived state) to announce the truth to those who can hear it and will do something about it - governors, mayors, local leaders - and avoiding saying, pointedly, "look, I TOLD him, but he doesn't listen, does he?" because then he'd be fired or sidelined and he wouldn't get to spread the truth, the science, the data he knows anymore.

Like mhoye, I don't envy him the position he's in. But I'm very glad we DO have someone with an actual scientific background in that job right now, rather than, say, Mulvaney or Meadows or Bolton.
posted by kristi at 6:02 PM on April 12 [27 favorites]


Nah, if we need to designate someone give it to Sanjay Gupta.

“We”?
posted by mhoye at 6:09 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I didn't mean for my original comment to sound dismissive of Fauci, I'm glad the dude is there. Im sure the line he must walk isn't easy.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:20 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Flattery, deference, and sycophancy are tools with which to manipulate Trump. They are the levers that move his simple mind in one direction or another.

It seems that we might have some smart people near to the seat of power who have learned how to use these tools.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:22 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


Those guys respect him, think he is an excellent scientist, and call him 'a master of the politics of science'.

c/f

“You stay completely apolitical and non-ideological.."

It's Orwellian, is what it is. To be a completely apolitical and non-ideological scientist, you must be a master of the politics of science.
posted by MiraK at 6:22 PM on April 12 [19 favorites]


The Al Franken Show on Sirius XM, a repeat aired on Saturday, interviewed the (previous?) director of California's Dept of Public Health. (I just heard the middle of the show, she said she worked for two governors, one science based, and one "difficult", not naming them.)

She would "tell the truth" to the public, but emphasize what made the governor seem, at least, competent and rational... Then work behind the scenes with the aides, so they might get the ear of the governor. A difficult, political job if the governor won't pay attention and follow the science.

Times ten with the federal government now?
posted by jjj606 at 6:48 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


I'd like to hear more of 'i recommended *this*, the president did *that*'. Just matter of fact truths about how it's going. I just can't help but interpret a lot of his commentary as super vague and protective of cheetoh.

Baloney. He knows the second he does anything like that, he’s out on his ear and someone far less effective will take his place. He’s doing as much as he can given the black waters he has to navigate. The only thing he’s protective of is whatever level of effectiveness and competence he can eke out of the disaster surrounding him.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:57 PM on April 12 [24 favorites]


My guess is that the dumbass mobster has probably threatened him a time or two, and maybe Fauci feels that he's invested, I dunno, fucking DECADES to his career and his respect for the science to waste it all on some asshole like Trump. I'm thinking that he knows the stupid game he needs to play. I'm also pretty sure that he did not choose to be up there on the bully pulpit with the dumbass mobster either. So maybe we give the guy a break and stop assuming that just because he's up there at the podium, that he's a syncophant. I think that if any of us were in the same position, we might just think about dying on hills and whatnot.
posted by sundrop at 7:01 PM on April 12 [22 favorites]


God, I don’t envy his situation. This is an extreme example of what people mean when they talk about the compromises you have to make to work within a system. He maybe gets to inject some reasonable ideas into the discussion, move the needle and save some more lives. But he has to continually act deferential to an irrational man with far too much power, and publicly support the administration, or he loses the opportunity to even do that.

By all accounts he’s a good scientist, and I hope he’s doing good work. I think he probably accomplishes more on the inside than if he got himself fired. But I wouldn’t be sleeping well at all in that position.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 7:03 PM on April 12 [15 favorites]




Yeah. On a second read, you're right. That's just me wishing the world wasn't the way it is.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:00 PM on April 12


Also, I admit to my not-astute-professional-politicalness. "Dude, yeah that was true, but you just *don't* phrase it like that. wow."
posted by j_curiouser at 8:10 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


He's already gotten himself fired. He made a statement that the government didn't act quickly enough, and that cost lives. And POTUS doesn't want to hear that, it makes him look bad.
posted by Windopaene at 9:03 PM on April 12


This is not currently a situation an advisor can help with.

That ship sailed months ago.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:34 PM on April 12


See also: Why Does the President Keep Pushing a Malaria Drug? -- What is actually known about hydroxychloroquine, the medication that Trump is fixated on recommending for COVID-19 (James Hamblin for The Atlantic, April 6, 2020)
Two weeks ago, French doctors published a provocative observation in a microbiology journal. In the absence of a known treatment for COVID-19, the doctors had taken to experimentation with a potent drug known as hydroxychloroquine. For decades, the drug has been used to treat malaria—which is caused by a parasite, not a virus. In six patients with COVID-19, the doctors combined hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin (known to many as “Z-Pak,” an antibiotic that kills bacteria, not viruses) and reported that after six days of this regimen, all six people tested negative for the virus.

The report caught the eye of the celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who has since appeared on Fox News to talk about hydroxychloroquine 21 times. As Oz put it to Sean Hannity, “This French doctor, [Didier] Raoult, a very famous infectious-disease specialist, had done some interesting work at a pilot study showing that he could get rid of the virus in six days in 100 percent of the patients he treated.” Raoult has made news in recent years as a pan-disciplinary provocateur; he has questioned climate change and Darwinian evolution. On January 21, at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Raoult said in a YouTube video, “The fact that people have died of coronavirus in China, you know, I don’t feel very concerned.” Last week, Oz, who has been advising the president on the coronavirus, described Raoult to Hannity as “very impressive.” Oz told Hannity that he had informed the White House as much.
That's right, Televisions' Doctor Oz has Trump's ear, and is taking the words of a racist, climate and evolution denier, as a reason to deprive people with Lupus and RA of drugs known to work for them (previously on MetaFilter).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 PM on April 12 [20 favorites]


Looks like a lot of the hardest hit spots tend to be large urban areas. Which are not Trump's base. Why would he care when he's being called out, all his hotels are closed...

Narcissistim and cash flow issues are a helluva drug.
posted by Windopaene at 9:51 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


stands up for the right choice, loses his job, and in the two months (or six months) it takes to hire his replacement the exponential infection rate of COVID-19 does its thing and the death toll goes from horrific to tectonic, with that delta at least partly on his hands.

This is not how responsibility works in my book. A person in his position has a duty to stand up for the right choice. If he chooses otherwise that's where death delta numbers are on his hands. And here we are...
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:01 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I appreciate he is in a super-difficult position, but "if I leave he'll just replace me with someone worse" is how everyone justifies working with an autocrat or dictator. I'm sure Mattis believed that. I'm betting Kirstjen Nielsen believed it. Rosenstein, Tillerson, Cohn, Wray, etc. They all know Trump is unacceptable and they all believe someone worse will take their places if they quit or are fired. And the thing is, they're right. That's true of both the less complicit like Fauci and the more complicit like Nielsen.

But that can justify all sorts of immorality and awfulness. Lending your credibility and expertise to someone like Trump is the first step down a corrupt path and nobody gets away clean.

Fauci is not in an enviable position but it's never clear that damage in the short run (if a competent person quits) isn't preferable to even more pain in the long run through propping up an autocrat. History suggests it probably is.
posted by Justinian at 6:51 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


How would have the Trump Admin response been any different if Fauci had left in late January?
Fauci doesn't want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is "just minuscule."
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/02/17/nih-disease-official-anthony-fauci-risk-of-coronavirus-in-u-s-is-minuscule-skip-mask-and-wash-hands/4787209002/

Either that's a misquote or Fauci was mouthing the party line to the press three weeks before it all fell apart.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:53 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


We (myself included) are all so desperate for something or someone to save us from Trump that a series of people from Hillary Clinton to Robert Mueller to Anthony Fauci have been elevated to the status of potential saviour, martyr and/or living embodiment of Surely This. But the thing is, ultimately Trump isn’t the problem, it’s his followers. If Trump were visited by the Ghosts of Pandemics Past tonight, had a change of heart, resigned the next morning, admitted to and released evidence for all of his misdeeds, pled guilty and willingly went to prison for the rest of his life, the rest of us would still be left with the tens of millions of people all over the world who regard him as a superman, instrument of the divine and/or a weapon that can be used against what or whoever they hate. And even in that fantasy scenario the vast majority of them would not use the opportunity to reflect upon their errors in judgement, but would spiral even deeper into conspiratorial, grievance-based belief systems because they would literally rather die (although they would prefer you died) than live in a world ruled by justice, equality and rationality or even entertain the idea of reexamining their worldview.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:05 AM on April 13 [30 favorites]


^
posted by j_curiouser at 8:27 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


I trust Fauci because of his acknowledgement of past mistakes, even if he did harm before them. I was a child during the worst of the HIV epidemic in the US, so I don't know what it was like in the ground, but from what I've read, the fact that he has said that he was mistaken in not looking at the victims as individuals makes me trust him in future epidemic/pandemic fights. I'd rather he had not needed his come to jesus moment or at least had it before ACT UP stormed his office, but he did learn. That's more than I can say for any of the other chucklefucks in the current administration (although I don't know enough about Birx to place her on the camp or not).

He's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, his screw ups early on in HIV probably cost lives. He probably chunks have raised alarm bells earlier with covid. But he's dedicated himself to getting an HIV vaccine and preventing something like HIV from happening in the future. So I'm willing to cut him some slack on having to mollify Trump and stroke his ego.
posted by Hactar at 9:03 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Yeah. I’m glad SOMEONE with the relevant background who isn’t a completely craven dirt bag or young earth creationist is helping guide policy. But Fauci is still a moral failure. And once we make it through, this if we still have anything resembling a democracy, we shouldn’t forget it.

Though. We probably will.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 9:56 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Heywood Mogroot III , from the article: If that testing shows the virus has slipped into the country in places federal officials don't know about, "we've got a problem," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told USA TODAY's Editorial Board Monday.

At the time, Fauci was correct: at the time, in the US, based on the information they had, people needed to be more worried about catching the flu than the coronavirus. A recent NYTimes investigation found that Fauci started pushing for more serious action about 9 days later, on the 30th, based on new information; mainly, evidence of person-to-person transmission within the US.

But on the morning of Jan. 30, Mr. Azar got a call from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield and others saying they had changed their minds. The World Health Organization had declared a global public health emergency and American officials had discovered the first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission inside the United States.

We shouldn't treat scientists changing their advice based on new data as some sort of "gotcha" or evidence that they were lying before.
posted by damayanti at 10:30 AM on April 13 [26 favorites]


We shouldn't treat scientists changing their advice based on new data as some sort of "gotcha" or evidence that they were lying before.

I agree. But initiating an immediate inventory and stock pile of needed medical supplies would’ve been prudent. Instead of the mad scramble we ended up with. And it’s not like those needs were a surprise to anyone who studied outbreaks and pandemics for the last thirty years.

He could’ve gone public voicing those needs to put pressure on policy makers. He didn’t.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 10:39 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Looks like a lot of the hardest hit spots tend to be large urban areas. Which are not Trump's base. Why would he care when he's being called out, all his hotels are closed...

Narcissistim and cash flow issues are a helluva drug.


I've seen it mentioned elsewhere, in relationship to when Florida got 100% of their emergency supplies requested, unlike so many other states (Washington Post, March 31, 2020), that Trump and co are forgetting that people have relatives and friends in other states.

That multi-state connection hasn't changed state-by-state focuses in past polling and election results (for obvious reasons), but it'd be interesting to see if this state vs state (vs feds) fight for critical supplies doesn't do something to unite the country more than divide it.

And I realize that I wrote that in a most detached way, as if life-or-death situations, which could have been prevented with proper planning, is just something to review in future news and scholarly articles.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 AM on April 13


Fauci is not in an enviable position but it's never clear that damage in the short run (if a competent person quits) isn't preferable to even more pain in the long run through propping up an autocrat. History suggests it probably is.

Let's be clear that the "damage in the short run" you're talking about in this instance is very likely that lots of people will die who wouldn't have died otherwise, since Fauci is literally one of perhaps two people in the entire world with any influence over Trump who is actively pushing back against promoting quack cures and/or a disastrous full re-opening of the economy. But moral purity, I guess!
posted by en forme de poire at 1:05 PM on April 13 [13 favorites]


At the time, Fauci was correct: at the time, in the US, based on the information they had, people needed to be more worried about catching the flu than the coronavirus.

In retrospect that's obviously the wrong way of thinking about it, though. Of course he's not the only one who was getting this wrong in mid-February - I can only think of a few who correctly predicted that it was already unlikely to be contained.

I don't particularly blame Fauci for being willing to share a platform Trump on this, though? I mean, look at all the other people on that platform. Among the medical professionals, Birx has given him a lot more unearned support.
posted by atoxyl at 1:46 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The first death in the U.S. wasn't until February 26 in Washington state. So some might argue that the risk didn't become apparent until then.

But that ignores the fact the the first positive diagnosis was on January 21 in Washington. The time between the first diagnosis and the first death was almost 5 weeks in which the CDC and FDA did nothing to fix the testing issues. Officials in Washington were screaming to use their own test but approval was refused. This meant five weeks in which Washington health officials were flying blind.

It is only after the fact that it was determined that when everyone back in DC said everything was under control, that the disease had been circulating by the hundreds in Washington, invisible because of the lack of testing.

So Fauci might have been overly confident early on, but only because of incompetence at the top which kept him ignorant of the much worse reality on the ground.
posted by JackFlash at 2:09 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


People with myalgic encephalomyelitis knew who he was before this, because:
In contrast to his service on behalf of AIDS, Fauci has taken every opportunity to bury M.E. for the last 35 years. As first reported in Osler's Web, in the early 1990s Fauci expressed his bewilderment--through the NIAID deputy director who he authorized to speak for him--that patients were distressed by psychiatric diagnoses since the stigma surrounding mental illness presumably had subsided. Fauci also accompanied Stephen Straus of the NIH clinical center to Capitol Hill to demand that Congress people quiet constituents who were flooding the NIH with letters pleading for Straus--an influential M.E. denier--to be fired. Upon Straus's death in 2007, Fauci directed that the disease be overseen by the Office of Women's Health, a tiny office with no labs or scientists, no authority to submit or fund research grants, and minimal authority within the NIH cosmos. The disease languished, unresearched and essentially buried in this bureaucrat's netherworld until 2016, when NIH announced its interest in conducting a clinical trial of patients at the agency.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:39 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


So Fauci might have been overly confident early on, but only because of incompetence at the top which kept him ignorant of the much worse reality on the ground.

Again I'm not blaming him too much because a.) lots of experts followed the same trajectory and b.) statistically it's not surprising that a few got it right. I'm citing Marc Lipsitch for a reason, though, because - well, he's the guy who got me to start paying close attention to the virus situation in mid-late February and he did that by pointing out that what we knew about the behavior of the virus at the time would suggest it "should" already have a presence in a number of countries, and that the most likely explanation for it not being reported in those countries was that they weren't really looking for it. In retrospect I think anyone who didn't realize that can be said to have screwed up - that's a lot of people, though, so the degree of individual responsibility is low.
posted by atoxyl at 2:55 PM on April 13


Uh, oh. White House press secretary says Fauci "has been and remains a trusted advisor".

Going by past history in Trump's White House, that means he's toast. It's the mafia kiss of death.
posted by JackFlash at 2:57 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


The dreaded vote of confidence should Scaramucci Scare A. Fauci.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:08 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


If you're talking more long-term policy stuff, I can absolutely see the argument that its better to be honest and get fired rather than go along with bad policy in the hopes of nudging things in a better direction. It doesn't work very well in the long run.

But for a crisis, I think Fauci is making the right call. Getting fired (which may happen over a single VERY lightly critical comment now anyway) just guarantees a Trumpian denier replaces him (as weve seen in every single instance of this). So what happens in that case? A lot of people die/get sick over several months, and in the best case scenario Biden wins in November and this new person is gone by January. But the crisis will be over by January in that scenario, because everyone will have gotten sick already (and either died or recovered). The death toll will be much higher than having someone who gets Trump to change course at all, even if its 20% of what he should be doing.

Fauci getting fired and going to the media talking about what a terrible job Trump is doing will have zero effect. Everyone who is open to that message already knows Trump is doing a good job. The others will just hear from Fox and Trump about how Fauci is a deep-state Dem that wanted to bring down the best President of all time.

I also respect him --- there is zero chance I could pull off what he is doing. I don't think I could possible keep a straight / non-angry face while having to stand next to Trump's nonsense all the time.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:32 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


I really would like to know how many governors/mayors ordered a shelter-in-place/lockdown because of Fauci and how many did not do it earlier because of Fauci.
posted by asra at 4:36 PM on April 13


This Is How It Looks When You're Not Afraid (James Fallows & Deborah Fallows, The Atlantic) • "Anthony Fauci is the rare senior government official who seems more devoted to truth than to Trump."
Anthony Fauci has been different from any other prominent official Donald Trump has dealt with in his time as president. The difference is that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is not afraid. To put it in terms Trump might recognize: What the hell does he have to lose?

This reality does not make it possible to predict what Trump will do with Fauci [...]. But it may explain why the familiar dynamics of Trump’s unhappiness with underlings—first the retweets of criticism, then the “Behind you 1,000 percent!” show of public support, then the dismissal, then the anger and insults from Trump—could take a different course this time. [...]

And so we have an unusually clear test of which dominates for Trump: impulse or self-interest. His self-interest lies in working with Fauci. His impulses may lead him to dismiss Fauci. Brain versus gut? Reason versus resentment? We’ll see which prevails.

But in the interim, Fauci is offering an unusually clear lesson to all others who have submitted to Trump: This is how it looks when you’re not afraid.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:51 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Would we be reading articles about him if we had a competent President?

If we had a competent president, would there be any need to write articles about how Fauci happens to be handling a pandemic in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]



Fauci is not in an enviable position but it's never clear that damage in the short run (if a competent person quits) isn't preferable to even more pain in the long run through propping up an autocrat. History suggests it probably is.

Let's be clear that the "damage in the short run" you're talking about in this instance is very likely that lots of people will die who wouldn't have died otherwise, since Fauci is literally one of perhaps two people in the entire world with any influence over Trump who is actively pushing back against promoting quack cures and/or a disastrous full re-opening of the economy. But moral purity, I guess!


This argument has been made for every single person near Trump for 3 years. These arguments have been made for Jared and Ivanka, Matthis, Kelly, Comey, and on and on. The reason Trump is in the position to stupidly kill thousands or ten of thousands through bad decisions right now is because there are always "very serious people" standing beside him ostensibly moderating his tyrannical and dumb impulses in the 'short run'.

America has always tolerated tyrants for short term gain with pretty much universally disastrous long term consequences. But in the past it was as foreign policy. Now it is domestic policy but it is the exact same rationale and it almost certainly will have the same kind of consequences.
posted by srboisvert at 6:35 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The reason Trump is in the position to stupidly kill thousands or ten of thousands through bad decisions right now is because there are always "very serious people" standing beside him ostensibly moderating his tyrannical and dumb impulses in the 'short run'.

In what possible way does this apply to Fauci? It’s incoherent. Trump will remain president regardless of whether Fauci stays or goes: he’s not getting impeached between now and November. If Fauci were to leave the administration, the exact same thing would happen as with every other expert who has quit, which is that Trump would either replace him with a complete kook who would then have a platform to do even more awful things, or would just not replace him with anyone at all and give people like Navarro even more weight. What concrete positive outcome are you expecting here?
posted by en forme de poire at 9:05 AM on April 14 [7 favorites]


Pretty humiliating yesterday for Fauci to have to stand up in front of Trump glaring at you at the press conference and walk back his comments saying that earlier mitigation could have saved lives.

I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.
posted by JackFlash at 9:08 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


In what possible way does this apply to Fauci? It’s incoherent. Trump will remain president regardless of whether Fauci stays or goes: he’s not getting impeached between now and November. If Fauci were to leave the administration, the exact same thing would happen as with every other expert who has quit, which is that Trump would either replace him with a complete kook who would then have a platform to do even more awful things, or would just not replace him with anyone at all and give people like Navarro even more weight. What concrete positive outcome are you expecting here?

I struggle to see what Fauci has actually achieved other than legitimizing one of the worst Covid-19 responses in of all the developed countries in the World. I mean he has provided some amusing 'sub-tweet' style facial expressions I suppose.
posted by srboisvert at 10:17 AM on April 14


Concerns about "legitimizing" the Trump administration's response are bizarre to me. What exactly do you mean by this, and what is the actual impact you are imagining of legitimizing vs. not legitimizing the response, in terms of lives saved or lost?

Fauci and Birx are essentially the only people right now with relevant expertise who have any power to influence our response to the virus, and by all accounts they have been pressing this entire time for stronger measures. Take a look at what Trump was saying in February versus what he was saying in mid-March: it's obvious that he wanted to bury the whole thing initially, and it's just as obvious that he was, extremely reluctantly and belatedly, dragged in the direction of taking some action. Because of the nature of this outbreak, influencing Trump's response in the correct direction at all literally could mean the prevention of -- at least -- tens of thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths. If you honestly think the two of them accomplished nothing, I invite you to take a look at who else is on the coronavirus task force and who else is in Trump's ear, and consider the positions that given Trump's existing inclinations those people would have likely influenced Trump to take.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:43 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]




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