Casey Rodgers / AP
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 | 2 a.m.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the world’s most respected immunologists, whose contributions to medical research and public health have saved millions of lives worldwide.
Chuck Woolery is a former game show host who attended Morehead State University but left before getting a degree.
So if your life depended on it — and it does — whose opinion on the coronavirus pandemic would you support? The answer is Fauci, of course, unless you’re President Donald Trump and you’re willing to risk lives for reelection.
Trump, in a burst of Twitter rage Monday morning, retweeted a preposterous accusation by Woolery that read: “Everybody is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we trust.” Woolery, now a figure in extremist conservative media, went on to say that the so-called lies were all about keeping the economy on ice and killing Trump’s chances in November.
Nobody in their right mind would believe this. The proof of experts’ advice is staring all of us directly in the face via this summer’s resurgence of infections. That massive flare-up was triggered by premature openings of states with Republican governors who ignored public health experts — Florida, Texas and Arizona.
But Trump is responding by undermining his own health experts, including Fauci. The retweet of Woolery was part of a full-on assault by Trump and his administration in recent days against the credibility of government public health officials.
Among the attacks:
• In an interview Tuesday with the TV news chain Gray Television, Trump dismissed Fauci’s concerns that the U.S. could surpass 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day unless further safeguards are adopted. “I think we are in a good place,” Trump said. “I disagree with him.”
• Speaking Thursday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump said, “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.”
• Last week, Trump disavowed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools. “I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools,” Trump tweeted. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”
• White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who had a public clash with Fauci over the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, offered this quote to The Washington Post in a story published Saturday: “Dr. Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on. So when you ask me if I listen to Dr. Fauci’s advice, my answer is only with caution.”
• Adm. Brett Giroir, the federal official overseeing coronavirus testing, said during an appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press” that Fauci was “not 100% right, and he also doesn’t necessarily … have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany made a similar statement Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
• On Monday, Trump retweeted false information from Woolery that there’s “overwhelming evidence” that schools should be reopened — in fact, experts say reopening depends on a number of factors, including the level of community spread of the disease. Trump also took aim at Fauci by retweeting a disparaging comment from Woolery’s co-host on a radio show: “So based on Dr. Fauci and the Democrats, I will need an ID card to go shopping but not to vote?”
Clearly, this is an orchestrated campaign by Trump and his team to discredit public health officials and mislead Americans into believing it’s safe to return to normal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In Nevada, we know that all too well.
The resurgence of the virus here has led to a crushing second round of closures of bars, which is deeply troubling given that enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of the month and a state-mandated moratorium on evictions is being phased out.
Meanwhile, as reported last week, the increase in new cases cost Las Vegas the chance to host the remainder of the National Hockey League season, which tourism officials had hoped would be a showcase of efforts to show travelers that they could safety return to the city.
It’s critical for our community to respond with the same level of urgency we displayed during the initial outbreak of cases — by following guidelines, protecting each other and stamping out the resurgence.
For Las Vegas to recover as quickly as possible, we must listen to experts like Fauci who are pleading with Americans to stay home unless it’s necessary to go out, to always wear a mask in public and to adhere to distancing recommendations at all times.
We can’t let Trump take us off task. In retweeting a know-nothing like Woolery, Trump is merely showing his increasing desperation, his cowardice and his willingness to put Americans in harm’s way.