April 14, 2020
The Hill – Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Tuesday said that he will be introducing legislation to limit President Trump’s ability to fire Anthony Fauci, amid a swirl of speculation that the public health official’s job could be in jeopardy.
The bill would only allow Trump to fire a director of a national research institute or national centers under the National Institute of Health “on the basis of malfeasance by, neglect of office by, or incapacity of the director.” Currently, Markey said, a director can be fired for any reason.
Markey called Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,” the “most trusted voice” within the scientific community when it comes to the coronavirus and warned that he shouldn’t be fired for disagreeing with Trump.
“Trump has an allergy to both — science and the truth. Our response to the coronavirus crisis must be based on science, on data, and on the truth. We cannot allow Donald Trump to silence Dr. Fauci or any other government scientists,” Markey said in a statement.
“Educating the public about the science and the facts that will save lives is not, and should never be, a firing offense,” added Markey, who is up for reelection this year and facing a steep primary challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.).
The legislation, according to Markey’s office, would give NIH directors like Fauci similar job protections to the heads of independent agencies like the Federal Trade Commission … Read more.
Fauci walks back apparent criticism of Trump administration’s coronavirus response
Apr 13, 2020
USA TODAY – Anthony Fauci, the health care policy expert under fire from allies of President Donald Trump, said Monday he used a “poor choice of words” when he suggested lives could have been saved had the Trump administration put in place coronavirus restrictions earlier in the year.
“Hypothetical questions sometimes can get you into some difficulty,” Fauci said during a unique statement delivered amid reports that Trump was thinking of firing him.
In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci was asked if lives could have been saved had social distancing been imposed during the third week of February instead of mid-March. Fauci said, “It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that.”
“What goes into those kinds of decisions is – is complicated. But you’re right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
Trump, who on Sunday re-tweeted a supporters’ statement that Fauci should be fired, called the epidemic expert to the podium early in the briefing, an unusual move.
Anthony Fauci and President Donald Trump have disagreed on coronavirus tactics.
Fauci, the long-time director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, denied that Trump forced him to make the statement. He told reporters, “everything I do is voluntary. Please. Don’t even imply that.”
Fauci’s latest comments came right before Trump again said he would not fire his nationally recognized health care policy adviser … Read more.
Fauci Comments on US Virus Response Seem to Draw Trump’s Ire
fiApril 13, 2020
(Liberty Headlines) Social restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the Wuhan virus could have saved lives if they’d been started earlier, and when they’re eased new cases are certain to arise, said the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, seeming to draw the ire of President Donald Trump.
Trump, who has been chafing at criticism that he didn’t do enough early on to fight the virus, reposted a tweet that referenced Fauci’s comments and that said “Time to #FireFauci.” Trump again pointed to his decision in late January to restrict travel from China, writing, “Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up.”
Fauci said Sunday that the economy in parts of the country could have a “rolling reentry” as early as next month, provided health authorities can quickly identify and isolate people who will inevitably be infected. Fauci also said he “can’t guarantee” that it will be safe for Americans to vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3.
When asked on CNN if earlier action on social distancing and “stay at home” policies could have saved lives, Fauci responded in part:
“It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated.”
Trump’s tweet referencing Fauci was one of several that Trump posted on Sunday that defended his handling of the virus outbreak.
Rather than flipping a switch to reopen the entire country, Fauci said a gradual process will be required based on the status of the pandemic in various parts of the U.S. and the availability of rapid, widespread testing. Once the number of people who are seriously ill sharply declines, officials can begin to “think about a gradual reentry of some sort of normality, some rolling reentry,” Fauci said.
In some places, he said, that might occur as soon as May.
Whenever restrictions ease, Fauci said, “we know that there will be people who will be getting infected. I mean, that is just reality.”
Social distancing guidelines from Trump are set to expire April 30.
Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to “stay at home” to help slow the virus’s spread.
But governors will have a lot to say about when to ease restrictions in their states, and the leaders of Maryland and New Jersey indicated Sunday that they are not likely to do so until widespread testing is available.
“The question is how fast we can get enough tests up to speed in order to help us get to the point where we are able to do all of those things,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a “NeverTrump” Republican.
He said he has set no “artificial deadline.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said the risks of reopening too soon are dangerously high.
“And I fear, if we open up too early, and we have not sufficiently made that health recovery and cracked the back of this virus, that we could be pouring gasoline on the fire, even inadvertently,” Murphy said.
Increased testing would allow authorities to identify, isolate and trace the contacts of people who are newly infected, Fauci said.
Other scientists have echoed Fauci’s call for a gradual reopening, where restrictions can be ramped up or down.
Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington institute that created widely cited projections of virus-related deaths that were wildly off, said studies show that lifting restrictions at the end of this month would lead to a rebound in the number of infections. Because states don’t really have the capability to deal with a big volume of new cases, he said, “by July or August we could be back in the same situation we are now.”
Speaking about the prospects of Americans physically going to polling places in November, Fauci said he hopes voting in person can take place.
“I believe that if we have a good, measured way of rolling into this, steps towards normality, that we hope, by the time we get to November, that we will be able to do it in a way which is the standard way,” he said.
“However — and I don’t want to be the pessimistic person — there is always the possibility, as we get into next fall, and the beginning of early winter, that we could see a rebound,” he said.
Fauci was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Hogan appeared on ABC’s ”This Week.” Murray was on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Murphy was on CNN and CBS.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.