Trump Doubles Down on Coronavirus Optimism as Election Looms

Trump has escalated his rhetoric towards coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci and his administration’s coronavirus response. What happened?


In a call with campaign staffers and reporters yesterday, President Trump called Dr. Fauci a “disaster,” saying that if they had followed his advice America would have twice as many COVID-19 deaths.

  • This comment is the latest in a series of escalating blows between Trump and Fauci over the past two weeks. At a rally last week, Trump blasted Biden for planning to “listen to Dr. Fauci” for guidance on a coronavirus response. On Sunday, Dr. Fauci said in an interview for 60 Minutes that he was not surprised that Trump contracted coronavirus. Trump responded in a Tweet addressing allegations that Fauci was not allowed to speak to the press.
  • In his call with campaign staffers, Trump also said that Americans were “tired” of hearing of Fauci and “all these idiots” associated with him.
  • Biden issued a statement last night which lambasted Trump’s remarks about Dr. Fauci, suggesting instead that the right thing to do is to “[lay] out a plan to beat this virus or [heed] their [scientists’] advice about how we can save lives and get the economy moving again.” Biden has made it clear throughout his presidential campaign that he would is critical of Trump’s coronavirus response and has always advocated for seeking and heeding the advice of experts.
  • With 14 days until the election, and many voters already casting ballots, the issue of the COVID-19 could represent a choice point for many voters. The pandemic has led to an economic crisis that has left thousands of Americans unemployed, and a health crisis which has affected millions including the President and his staff.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Frames Donald Trump’s coronavirus response as a total failure. Vanity Fair calls his efforts “catastrophic,” while the Washington Post reports that the President is “not even trying” to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on Americans.
  • Reports that Donald Trump’s war with Fauci is purely motivated by politics and Trump’s own ego. An op-ed for com touts that Trump felt his masculinity had been threatened by some of Dr. Fauci’s comments. An op-ed for the Boston Globe portrays Trump’s rhetoric towards Dr. Fauci as childish.
  • Points out that the attacks are not grounded in fact or rationality. The Washington Post and ABC News said that Trump is anti-science.
  • Highlights that even Trump’s own allies, like Fox News, have expressed concern about his criticism of Dr. Fauci. Huff Post wrote that Martha McCallum asked Trump in an interview whether it was a “good idea” to attack Dr. Fauci.



  • Seeks to highlight Dr. Fauci’s own hypocrisy. Breitbart News released reports throughout the week that Fauci planned to vote in person, and that he hoped to “cancel Thanksgiving“.
  • Criticizes Dr. Fauci’s response to Trump’s comments. In an interview, Dr. Fauci used a quote from The Godfather to describe his relationship with Donald Trump: “nothing personal, strictly business.” The New York Post portrayed Dr. Fauci’s Godfather reference in a negative light, playing up the mafia connotations.
  • Gives more time and space to Trump’s criticisms of Dr. Fauci than the left does. Fox News reports that President Trump was correct in his claim that Dr. Fauci had not always placed an emphasis on mask wearing. The Daily Wire wrote that Fauci has consistently complained about the Trump administration unfairly.
  • Points out that Trump’s priority for the next two weeks should unequivocally be winning the election. The Washington Examiner expresses concern that Trump’s focus on tearing down Fauci and winning the political battle over COVID-19 may not be the most effective way to win the election, and that he should instead focus on the economy. The Blaze focuses on false claims from Democrats which could pose a greater risk to Trump’s election win than these comments.


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© Evelyn Torsher, 2020