President Donald Trump retweeted a post from right-wing activist and conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine Sunday that called for the ousting of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has advised six presidents as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The Sunday retweet reignited calls from March by far-right pro-Trump personalities, politicians, and media outlets to have Fauci fired, blasting their voices into the mainstream.
Lorraine posted her tweet after Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday and said that earlier actions taken against the coronavirus in the United States could have prevented deaths. She included the hashtag “#FireFauci” in her tweet, and Trump retweeted it onto his profile.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said there were no plans to fire Fauci and that media chatter about the possibility was “ridiculous,” NBC News reported Monday. Gidley stated, “Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump.”
But it was too little too late. After Trump retweeted Lorainne’s call to oust Fauci, fringe anti-Fauci messaging exploded across Trump’s broader base for hours without rebuke. Politico reported in March that Fauci had attracted the ire of far-right Trump supporters who have asserted that Fauci “is the embodiment of the establishment forces that have been arrayed against the president since he came to Washington.”
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, the current leader of the House Freedom Caucus, told the host of an Arizona radio program Monday morning that it was “basically time for [Fauci] to step down.” Over the weekend, Biggs and Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that stated that Fauci “can no longer be one of the primary voices in this crisis, especially not after his assertion that the economic effects and devastation from this shutdown are merely inconvenient.”
In an article published Monday on the fringe-right blog The Gateway Pundit, commentator Wayne Allyn Root, who opened up for the president at a 2018 rally in Nevada, pleaded for Trump to reject the “Ivy League eggheads; DC Swamp-dwelling politicians and bureaucrats; and Deep State doctors” surrounding him. “No one elected President Fauci,” Root wrote. “No one elected Dr. Birx, Surgeon General Adams, or hapless Fed Chief Powell as President either. And for good reason. They care only about being loved by the media, using big government to solve every problem, and never saying anything for which they might be blamed.”
Ring-wing personalities renewed their attacks on Twitter Monday. Mark Simone, a syndicated right-wing radio host, claimed Fauci “was wrong and now he’s rewriting history,” adding that Fauci “has been giving the wrong advice all along.” John Cardillo tweeted that Fauci has “been wrong every step of the way and is now blaming [Trump] for his failures.” Jesse Lee Peterson called Fauci “a political tool” who “can’t be trusted.” Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne tweeted that it was time to fire Fauci.
According to a Quinnipiac University national poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans approve of Fauci’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak–more than 30 percentage points higher than Trump placed in the same poll.