By BEN GITTLESON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — As the novel coronavirus spreads across the country — leading to record numbers of cases and increased deaths in several states — President Donald Trump shared a message on Twitter Monday saying doctors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are “lying.”
“The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19,” the game show host and conservative commentator Chuck Woolery wrote, in a tweet the president shared with his over 83 million followers on Twitter. “Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”
Trump shared the message without comment or elaboration. There is no evidence the CDC, a federal agency, or doctors are “lying.”
The president also shared a message critical of the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“So based on Dr. Fauci and the Democrats, I will need an ID card to go shopping but not to vote?” Mark Young, Woolery’s conservative podcast co-host, wrote in a tweet also shared by Trump, without comment.
The tweet was likely a reference to an interview Fauci did in April with CNN in which he said certificates of immunity were being discussed as a potential possibility. Immunity certificates or cards were being discussed at the time as a way to speed reopening, but in the months since the idea has lost prominence as scientists struggle to understand how immunity to COVID-19 works and amid lagging testing capabilities in the United States.
The attacks on doctors and the nation’s leading infectious disease scientists, in the middle of a pandemic, came as the White House has sought to discredit Fauci, a member of its coronavirus task force.
Over the weekend, it provided a document to several media outlets that contained a misleading list of comments made by Fauci, in an effort to damage his reputation.
Two senior level White House sources told ABC News that Fauci has at times been referred to among Trump aides as “Dr. Gloom and Doom.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in an interview with Fox News Monday morning that Fauci was just “one member” of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
“The point of the task force is to be a whole-of-government look at what is best for this country,” she said, pointing to comments the day before from a top official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Adm. Brett Giroir, who told NBC News that Fauci does not necessarily “have the whole national interest in mind.
“That includes Dr. Fauci’s opinion, it includes Admiral Giroir’s, and ultimately those conclusions are taken to the president,” McEnany said. “So Dr. Fauci’s one member of a team, but rest assured his viewpoint is represented, and the information gets to the president through the task force.”
Trump, facing re-election this year, is facing broad disapproval for his management of the pandemic. In an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday, 67% of Americans said they disapproved of his oversight of the crisis, a new low since ABC News/Ipsos began surveying on the coronavirus in March.
Fauci has had a higher approval rating than the president in national polls related to the coronavirus response.
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