US Republican Senator Tom Cotton falsely claimed that White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci is only a “so-called expert” whose opinion on how to best defeat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic should not be given much weight by the American people.
Speaking on the Fox and Friends morning programme, Mr Cotton called the veteran virologist and adviser to seven presidents a “so-called expert” who is only an “expert” in the “very narrow slice of knowledge” that is infectious diseases.
“He knows nothing about the economy. He knows nothing about psychology. He knows nothing about the way most Americans have to live and struggle to make ends meet in this economy,” Mr Cotton said. “That’s why you don’t let an expert make decisions like this for the American people”.
Dr Fauci has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since the 1980s, and has long been a leader of the government’s efforts to research treatments and vaccines against HIV-Aids and other diseases of the immune system. He was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2008 for his work on the George W Bush-era Pepfar program to combat HIV-Aids abroad.
But despite his status as one of the country’s top medical efforts, he became a lightning rod for criticism from Republicans who have bristled at the positive press he has garnered during the Covid-19 pandemic compared with former president Donald Trump. A number of GOP members of Congress have attempted to blame him for the pandemic itself by suggesting that his agency funded research which led to the coronavirus escaping from a Chinese lab.
In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Dr Fauci called the efforts to blame him for the pandemic a “total political football” and said one would “have to be asleep” to not realise that Republican attempts to turn him into a villain were meant to deflect blame from Mr Trump’s mistakes.
“I’m just going to do my job and I’m going to be saving lives and they’re going to be lying,” he said.
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