Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has come under fire from far-right and ultra-conservative groups supporting Trump for what they perceive as efforts to undermine the president on the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports. An emerging effort is underway to discredit the top infectious disease expert on Twitter and other social media platforms employing the hashtag #FauciFraud, which has been tweeted as much as 795 times a day, according to the Times. Groups point to a flattering email Fauci sent to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2013 as well as Democratic resistance to Trump’s stated plan to prematurely end social distancing measures by Easter. Fauci’s candid characterization of the difficulty in getting the president to understand the grave threat of the fast spreading coronavirus has drawn the ire of conservative groups such as Judicial Watch and the talk show YourVoiceAmerica. Fauci said in a recent interview with Science magazine: “When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens.” Trump is the sixth president Fauci has worked for and advised in tackling major health outbreaks.
“There seems to be a concerted effort on the part of Trump supporters to spread misinformation about the virus aggressively,” said misinformation expert and biology professor at the University of Washington Carl Bergstrom, citing the Trump administration’s suspicion of scientific expertise. “There is this sense that experts are untrustworthy, and have agendas that aren’t aligned with the people,” he added.