‘Those are real numbers!’ Fauci clashes with Trump over Covid cases data, as virus fuels political divide
As the US passed 20 million recorded cases of Covid-19 and 350,000 deaths linked to the virus, President Donald Trump took aim at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday, accusing it of exaggerating the US’ caseload by using a “ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries.”Also on rt.com ‘When in doubt, call it Covid’: Trump accuses CDC of inflating figures as US passes 20 million coronavirus cases
Fauci, Trump’s top disease expert, immediately appeared on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ to counter Trump’s claim.
“The numbers are real,” he said. “All you need to do...is to go into the trenches, go into the hospitals, go into the intensive care units and see what is happening. Those are real numbers, real people and real deaths.”
Trump's relationship with Fauci has at times been testy, with the disease doctor throwing cold water on Trump’s optimistic predictions throughout the pandemic – like in February, when he called Trump’s forecast that the disease would wane by April “unlikely,” and when he downplayed Trump’s promotion of Hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game changer” treatment.
Despite Fauci and Trump working toward the same end-goals, the doctor’s tempered tone – and likely his willingness to criticize Trump – has earned him glowing media coverage, and fawning praise from Democrats, including Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who proclaimed Christmas Eve ‘Dr. Anthony Fauci Day’ in honor of his 80th birthday.Also on rt.com Washington’s mayor raises worship of Covid-19 czar to a new level, declaring Christmas Eve to be ‘Dr. Anthony Fauci Day’ in DC
Trump, on the other hand, is still despised by most mainstream media outlets. After Fauci’s appearance on ‘Meet the Press,’ the president raged at the apparent bias in a follow-up tweet.
“Something how Dr. Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News??,” he wrote.
Something how Dr. Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Trump first accused his opponents of “politicizing” the pandemic back in February, two weeks after his ban on incoming flights from China was called “xenophobic” by Democrats, including incoming president Joe Biden.
Since that time, both sides of the political aisle have differed hugely in their attitudes to the novel coronavirus. Democrats and liberals in general overwhelmingly support mask mandates and business shutdowns, while opposition to mask-wearing is almost exclusively a conservative position. Likewise, 82 percent of Biden voters considered Covid-19 a “very important” issue in the runup to November’s presidential election, compared to just 24 percent of Trump voters, according to a Pew Research poll.
That divide was alive and well online on Sunday, with journalists, liberals and anti-Trump Republicans left aghast by Trump’s supposed “insult to the doctors and nurses who work every day treating Covid patients.”
This tweet is an insult to the doctors and nurses who work every day treating Covid patients then go home to their families worried they’ll infect them. It’s also a reminder: the federal government failed by not implementing a national strategy for a once in a 100yrs pandemic. https://t.co/pX8pE9TbL7— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 3, 2021
.@realDonaldTrump -Still complete disregard for human life.⬇️-Still contributing to misinformation.⬇️-Still trying to ruin our democracy & elections with no facts/evidence.-Still encouraging a rally on 1/6 that will likely end up in violence-Don’t take their bait-stay home. https://t.co/hPXinlTlnl— Olivia of Troye (@OliviaTroye) January 3, 2021
All else about his failures as president aside, may I say how repulsive this is just from the point of view of decency and humanity? https://t.co/M9DfUFQLKr— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 3, 2021
Trump’s supporters, meanwhile, cheered the president for speaking “unpleasant facts,” accusing his opponents of inflating the statistics.
Two things are obvious:- Hospitals make far more money from “Covid.”- The opposition uses exaggerated numbers to try to hurt Trump. Disgusting. Fraud. https://t.co/u0yKzVJp11— Mark Gonsalves (@MarkCongressGA7) January 3, 2021
Barring the most unlikely of long shots, Trump will leave office in just over two weeks. How Joe Biden manages to make good on his promise to “unite” Americans so deeply divided by something as apolitical as a virus, however, is anyone’s guess.
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