Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that former President Donald Trump's denial of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the magnitude of the U.S. COViD-19 death toll.
Fauci spoke to CNN's Alisyn Camerota, who asked him if Trump's actions contributed to the U.S. death toll.
"I certainly think that that's part of it," Fauci responded. "When you have such a common force, such a powerful force against you…you've got to do it together in a unifying way and not have any kind of political ideology divisiveness getting in the way of what we're trying to do. That's not the only thing that really was a problem, but that's certainly in my mind, having lived through it, was something that I found really to be unfortunately damaging."
Camerota then noted Trump's minimization of the virus while he was president asking Fauci, "Do you think that his denial and lack of facts contributed to this level of loss?"
"[I am] uncomfortable going back and directly criticizing, but it's really almost self evident that when you're trying to signal the country to really buckle down and address the kinds of mitigation strategies that we put forth — the wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding congregate settings, the kinds of things that I and many of the other public health people, who were there, trying to get the country to appreciate the this that we were trying to do all throughout the entire outbreak," Fauci said.
"I mean, the thing that I remember very clearly is when we were trying to open up the country, open up the economy and to do it carefully with the gateway, the phase 1, phase 2, the phase 3. I was hoping that would see a uniform, unified approach towards all doing that together. And when signals come saying ‘this isn't so bad, we're in pretty good shape,' when we're saying we're not, we being the health people, that was not helpful, because the people who wanted to deny that this is something that was serious when you get a signal from above that it might not be [so bad], then you don't do the kinds of things you need to do."