Mark Meadows said Fauci wasn't fired by the Trump administration due to concerns over how such a termination would be framed by news media and perceived by the American public.
Marlow asked why Fauci, who was director of the NIAID during former President Donald Trump’s tenure, wasn’t terminated from his position.
Meadows said, “a lot of discussions” took place in the White House considering firing Fauci.
“There were lot of discussions early on — and even later on — in terms of asking Dr. Fauci to use his talents elsewhere, primarily because he would go on TV and say things that either had not been discussed in the [COVID-19] task force or were opposite of what we had recommended,” he said.
The hiring of Dr. Scott Atlas as a special coronavirus adviser to Trump was partly a response to the former president’s dissatisfaction with Fauci’s conduct as NIAID director, Meadows stated.
“The decision was made — and in spite of a few people recommending that he’d be terminated — to let [Anthony Fauci] stay on,” he remarked. “That’s when Dr. Scott Atlas was brought in to provide a different perspective, and … that’s kind of the way the president makes decisions, even with people he disagrees with, letting them make decisions, letting them come in to actually give their opinion, and then trying to discern the truth out of that.”
Meadows said the decision against firing Fauci was made due to fear of that such a termination “would send the wrong message” to the public about the administration’s strategy to address the coronavirus outbreak.
“[Anthony Fauci] obviously had some allies within the West Wing,” he stated. “At the end of the day, I think there was a decision that — [given] his background with NIH and his insight — firing him right before a November 3rd election perhaps would send the wrong message that we’re not taking science seriously, which there was nothing further from the truth.”
He went on, “We wanted science to dictate our decisions, but also, understand that freedom and liberty [were] something that needed to be preserved. The lockdowns [and] ’15 days to slow the spread’ was very problematic, because we’re still in partial lockdowns across some of the country. [We were] balancing those out and trying to make sure that we didn’t make Dr. Fauci the issue as much as we made the policy the issue.”
He concluded, “In retrospect, having Dr. Fauci have less of a role would have been more appropriate.”
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