After getting under Donald Trump’s skin one last time over the weekend with a brutally honest interview in The New York Times (and accompanying episode of The Daily podcast) Dr. Anthony Fauci seemed genuinely ready to move on Monday when he appeared as a guest on Fox News’ revamped America’s Newsroom hour.
Towards the end of that appearance, co-anchor Dana Perino noted her frustration that about 24 of the 28-minute interview with The Daily focused not on the COVID-19 pandemic itself but rather on Fauci’s contentious relationship with Trump. “I know that those questions are irresistible for reporters to ask,” she said. “But is there a law of diminishing returns to continue to answer the questions about that relationship if the crisis is as acute as you say?”
Fauci readily agreed with her assessment, explaining that after that interview, he “said to myself, we’ve really got to look forward and ahead and just put that behind us” and that he is “really not enthusiastic at all about re-examining what happened back then rather than looking forward to what we need to do now.”
But that wasn’t good enough for Bill Hemmer, who interrupted Fauci to complain about the tone of the top doctor’s highly critical remarks. “It just seems like there's this aggressiveness toward the Trump administration,” he said. “I mean, you’re the most respected man in America on this topic. Why do you even feel the obligation to answer these questions?”
As Fauci tried to answer him, Hemmer added, “And by the way, when you were at the White House, no one prevented you from talking, did they?”
“No, that’s why I got in trouble,” Fauci replied, repeating a line he delivered at his first Biden administration briefing last week. But then he called out Hemmer for doing exactly what he and his Fox co-anchor seemed to be criticizing other outlets for doing.
“We’re getting into rehashing it again,” Fauci added. “I think we should do what Dana just suggested, namely, put that behind us and take a look at the problems we have ahead.”
A bit chastened, Hemmer replied, “At 9:37 on this Tuesday morning, January 26th, we will mark this moment, doctor. I’m ready to move on with you as well.”