[guest post by Dana]
Jim Geraghty over at NRO posits that Trump has a record worth defending, if only he were interested in doing so. Instead, Trump is more focused on…attacking Dr. Fauci, whom he, just days ago, described him as a “disaster”:
Yesterday, President Trump told his supporters on a conference call, regarding the pandemic, “People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing [Dr. Anthony] Fauci and all these idiots.” And then he added a few tweets, “Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals’ Mask for two reasons. Number one, it is not up to the high standards that he should be exposing. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!”
The president and his team could do a much better job defending their record; but you cannot make a president take actions he doesn’t want to take.
And while we know that Trump was fanning the flames of his base, it really doesn’t say much about the caliber of those supporters on the call with him, nor the President’s view of them. Of course, this sort of attack on Fauci is nothing new, and we’ve already seen how petty, insulting and even retaliatory Trump can be toward those (with far more experience in a specific matter) who publicly disagree with his often uninformed and unfactual opinions. This is really nothing new. But two weeks before an election does not seem like an opportune time for a sitting president to go after a popular American figure and infectious disease specialist who is clearly working around the clock to get a pandemic under control.
Geraghty goes on to suggest that Trump should focus on what he has accomplished rather than going after Fauci, and provides a list of what he views as Trump’s accomplishments. You can read the list at the link. I will simply say that I have a few issues with his list (or how certain items are presented), but the point in writing this post is to point out a specific time when Trump has provided his own bad publicity and that we should let him be responsible for such and not blame the media for it.
Geraghty, after listing what he regards as Trump’s accomplishments, then makes a final, rueful observation of Trump:
But the president really, really thinks he’s got Fauci nailed on that wild first pitch at the Nationals game, so he’ll focus on that.
Trump is his own worst enemy (and it’s true that most of us are our own worst enemy too). However, to my recollection, Trump has never displayed any observable recognition or understanding of that and therefore makes no effort to get out of his own way. This, of course, also makes it easier for him to blame others for his disasters, P.R. and otherwise.
These were Trump’s comments about Fauci two days ago:
“Dr. Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television, and yet I saw him last night on @60Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope,” Trump tweeted, referring to the legendary comedian.
“All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said ‘no masks & let China in.’ Also, Bad arm!” he continued, mocking the opening pitch that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases threw way off the plate at the long-awaited 2020 MLB season opener in June.
Trump, who has shunned wearing a mask, also accused the ardent Washington Nationals fan of wearing an ineffective facial covering.
“P.S. Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals’ Mask for two reasons. Number one, it is not up to the high standards that he should be exposing. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!” Trump went on.
And on Monday, Trump also said this to his staff:
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci is a nice guy,” Trump said, indicating he wanted to fire the Brooklyn-born director of the NIAID but couldn’t because of potential public outrage.
“Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. Fauci’s a disaster. If I’d listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” Trump said.
[Ed. I shouldn’t have to say it but I will say it as a pre-emptive strike: This does not in any way absolve major media outlets from any unprofession bias against Trump in their reporting.]