Trump then suggested that his administration has largely followed Fauci’s recommendations on fighting the pandemic. “And, for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others — Dr. (Deborah) Birx and others, who are terrific — recommended.”
Facts First: This is misleading. While Fauci made comments early on in the pandemic stating that masks were not necessary, he quickly changed course as more information became known about how the virus spreads, endorsing masks and social distancing. The President and his allies, however, have taken a different approach.
While the White House, through the coronavirus taskforce, publicly endorsed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines about masks and social distancing, neither the President, the vice president, nor many White House aides and allies adhered closely to those guidelines for much of the spring. As Fauci was cautioning states about reopening too soon, Trump was sending the opposite message, urging states to reopen and “liberate” themselves.
The White House removed critical context from Fauci’s remarks, making him seem rosier about the pandemic than he actually was. It also failed to mention that Trump himself made comments similar to Fauci’s, or far more optimistic than Fauci’s, long after Fauci’s words had become sharply less optimistic.
Afterward, the White House insisted it was not trying to discredit Fauci.
On states reopening
“The concern that I have is that there are some states, some cities, or what have you, who are looking at that and kind of leapfrogging over the first checkpoint,” he said during a CNN town hall in late April. “And I mean obviously you could get away with that, but you are making a really significant risk.”
“My concern is that we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci told the Senate HELP Committee on May 12, during a hearing on how to safely reopen the nation. “The consequences could be really serious.”
On sending children back to school
Trump and the administration continue to fight for schools to reopen this fall, highlighting data that shows the importance of in-person learning and citing studies showing that many children need the services outside of academics provided by schools.
The next day, the President attacked the CDC’s guidelines on schools, calling them “very tough” and “expensive” and saying he disagreed with them.
“While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things,” Trump wrote. “I will be meeting with them!!!”