Trump Blames Dr. Fauci For His Choice Not To Wear A Mask
President Donald Trump on Thursday tried to blame Dr. Anthony Fauci for his and other Americans’ decisions not to wear a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The president openly mocked Fauci during his campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, suggesting the nation’s top infectious disease expert had offered inconsistent advice about the coronavirus, The Hill reported.
“My friend, and he’s a nice guy, Tony. Tony Fauci. He’s a nice guy. He said this is not a threat. This is not a problem. Don’t worry about it,” Trump told the crowd of supporters at an outdoor rally in Greenville, N.C.
“And he said do not wear a mask. Do not wear a mask under any circumstances. Don’t wear a mask. Don’t. Don’t don’t, right? So we don’t wear a mask, then they say, oh, wear a mask. Did you see any conflicts?” Trump continued.
The president went on to accuse Fauci of being a Democrat — a fact the doctor disputed, saying a recent GOP campaign ad took his comments out of context.
“But he’s a nice guy so I keep him around, right? We’ll keep him around. He’s a Democrat. Everybody knows that. He’s [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo’s friend. Cuomo did the worst job of any governor in the United States,” Trump said, before eviscerating Cuomo’s response to the coronavirus.
Fauci has not, however, publicly identified himself as a Democrat and has taken pains to stay out of politics in his role as a top health official.
Fauci has said his remarks were taken out of context and called on the campaign to take down the ad. However, the Trump campaign has shown no sign of doing so and defended its use of Fauci’s remarks.
Trump also grossly misrepresented findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telling the crowd that “85 percent of the people wearing the mask” catch the virus.
In actuality, the study found that adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases were about twice as likely than those who tested negative to have reported dining at a restaurant before falling ill. Trump appeared to be referencing a point from the study that said that about 85 percent of COVID-19 patients surveyed reported either often or always wearing a face mask in the two weeks before they fell ill. Approximately the same percentage, 89 percent, of those who didn't have the coronavirus also reported wearing masks frequently.
The CDC on Wednesday tweeted about misconceptions related to the September study, saying that "the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect."