Even as coronavirus spirals out of control, a top Trump campaign official has posted a crude caricature of Anthony Fauci that depicts the trusted pandemic doctor as a dictatorial “Dr. Faucet,” flushing the nation’s economic recovery down the drain.
“If I’m going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it’s done publicly — and not cowardly, behind journalists with leak,” wrote Dan Scavino, who runs the reelection effort’s sprawling social media operation.
The nasty caricature shows a goofy-looking Fauci pouring cold water on Uncle Sam with supposed proposals for “INDEFINITE LOCKDOWN!” and “No school this fall!”
“Shut him off!” the cartoon declares.
Openly attacking Fauci is emerging as a key part of Trump’s strategy to deflect blame for the response to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic disaster that it has sparked.
Fauci, who commands the overwhelming respect of most American people, has been pointedly sidelined by the White House and has not spoken to Trump in several weeks.
Trump has bristled as Fauci has repeatedly blamed the dramatic resurgence of the COVID-19 virus on the failure of the country to tamp down infection rates early in the pandemic.
Trump’s base has long chafed at the economic shutdowns, mask mandates and other restrictions that public health experts like Fauci say are essential tools in limiting the spread of the pandemic.
More than 135,000 Americans have already died of coronavirus and caseloads are setting new records as the virus spreads unchecked in populous Florida, Texas and elsewhere.
California has already ordered a return to strict closures of most businesses in a desperate effort to save lives and other states may soon follow.
Trump was banking on a rapid economic resurgence raising his popularity before the November election and does not want to take any more difficult steps to battle the pandemic. But that strategy appears to have been scuppered by the resurgence of the virus.
As Fauci and others correctly warned, reopening too quickly has left the nation vulnerable to punishing new waves of death and illness, which in turn has undermined the economic gains.
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