Former President Donald Trump railed against his past White House coronavirus task force advisers, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, as “self-promotors trying to reinvent history” after the pair criticized Trump’s pandemic decision-making in a CNN documentary clip released Sunday.
“Based on their interviews, I felt it was time to speak up about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned,” Trump said in a Monday statement. “They had bad policy decisions that would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine – putting millions of lives at risk.”
Trump also touted the triumphant success of Operation Warp Speed, which produced not one, but two vaccines by the end of 2020 with a third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson approved by the Food and Drug Administration early this year.
“We developed American vaccines by an American President in record time, nine months, which is saving the entire world,” Trump said. “We bought billions of dollars of these vaccines on a calculated bet that they would work, perhaps the most important bet in the history of the world.”
The statement comes after Fauci claimed total credit for the coronavirus vaccine on the CNN documentary, telling viewers the decision to aggressively pursue a vaccine “may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made.” Trump, however, put Operation Warp Speed into action while Fauci warned in March last year a viable coronavirus vaccine ought not to be expected anytime soon.
“It will take at least a year to a year in a half to have a vaccine we can use,” Fauci told Senate lawmakers a year ago.
In his Monday statement, Trump characterized Birx and Fauci as avid lock-downers who, if it were up to them, would have kept the country under totalitarian-style lockdowns to this day.
“If it were up to them, we’d currently be locked in our basements as our country suffered through a financial depression,” Trump said. “Families, and children in particular, would be suffering the mental strains of this disaster like never before.”
The former Republican president also mocked Fauci’s disaster pitch at Nationals-Yankees baseball game last summer.
Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch before the Nationals-Yankees game. pic.twitter.com/04Tbkh7Voa
— ESPN (@espn) July 23, 2020
“In a fake interview last night on CNN, Dr. Fauci, who said he was an athlete in college but couldn’t throw a baseball even close to home plate, it was a ‘roller,’ tried to take credit for the vaccine, when in fact he said it would take three to five years, and probably longer, to have it approved,” Trump said.
Three days before President Trump announced the launch of Operation Warp Speed in May, Fauci told Congress even if a vaccine did come soon, “there’s no guarantee that the vaccine is actually going to be effective.”
Trump also targeted Fauci’s infamous flip-flop on face masks. The most vocal White House coronavirus task force member claimed in March last year, “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” Now, Fauci is demonstrating how to wear two masks as part of the movement to turn mask mandates permanent. Fauci has already said masks need to be required through the end of 2021.
“Dr. Fauci is also the kind of ‘flip-flops’ and moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible,” Trump said.
On Birx, who told CNN of an “uncomfortable” phone call from the president last year, Trump called her a “proven liar with very little credibility left.”
“Dr. Fauci would always talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her,” Trump wrote. “The States that followed her lead, like California, had worse outcomes on COVID, and ruined lives of countless children because they couldn’t go to school, ruined many businesses, and an untold number of Americans who were killed by the lockdowns themselves. Dr. Birx was a terrible medical adviser, which is why I seldom took her advice.”