Trump administration refusing to let Dr Fauci appear on CBS show, host says

James Crump
Margaret Brennan during Face the Nation on Sunday: (CBS News)
Margaret Brennan during Face the Nation on Sunday: (CBS News)

CBS News host Margaret Brennan has claimed that the Trump administration has prevented Dr Anthony Fauci from appearing on her show for three months.

The moderator of CBS’ Face the Nation, claimed on the show on Sunday that the administration had not approved an interview with Dr Fauci since 5 April.

Dr Fauci, one of the country's top infectious disease experts and part of the US government's coronavirus task force, has appeared on various other networks over the last few months to discuss the coronavirus crisis, according to Newsweek.

Speaking at the start of Face the Nation on Sunday, Ms Brennan noted that coronavirus cases in the US had risen above 50,000 in the previous days, and said the show wanted to get Dr Fauci on to discuss the crisis.

“It may be the most sobering morning after the Fourth of July in America’s history as we wake up to the fourth day in a row of more than 50,000 new reported cases of Covid-19. They are on the rise now in 40 of 50 states,” she said.

Ms Brennan added that “we’re committed to bringing you the facts about the virus and the most knowledgeable guests that we can. We think it’s important for our viewers to hear from Dr Anthony Fauci and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

“But we have not been able to get our request for Dr Fauci approved by the Trump administration in the last three months.”

Ms Brennan said that her show had also not been able to get an interview with a CDC official in that time, and added: “We will continue our efforts.”

Dr Fauci last appeared on Face the Nation on 5 April, when he was interviewed by Ms Brennan, but has not appeared on the network since.

Although he has done several television interviews since that date, his last appearance in the US was on CNN on 12 June, when he was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer.

He and other members of the coronavirus task force, who are leading the response to the crisis, are struggling to get access to go on major television networks to discuss the pandemic, according to CNN.

Dr Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was in the news again last week, but his comments on the pandemic were taken from a webcast with the Journal of the American Medical Association, a Senate committee hearing, and interviews with NPR, and the BBC in the UK.

With positive cases rising dramatically across the US, following the easing of lockdown measures in a majority of states, a Trump administration official told CNN that they are concerned by the lack of expert coverage, because, “now is the time to be sending a strong public health message.”

At the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee last Tuesday, Dr Fauci warned that the US could see the number of new cases rise to 100,000 a day.

“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned,” Dr Fauci said.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 2.8 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 129,947.

The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.

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