The View co-host Meghan McCain chastised the White House press corps on Tuesday for grilling top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci at Monday’s coronavirus briefing, claiming the questions left her personally and “particularly insulted.”
Ahead of Monday’s presser, Fauci seemingly confirmed reporting by The New York Times that many within the Trump administration resisted his and other experts' recommendations to implement social-distancing guidelines weeks before President Donald Trump announced them in mid-March. During a Sunday interview, Fauci told CNN that earlier restrictions “could have saved lives” but “there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
At the top of Monday’s briefing, which quickly went off-the-rails when the president lashed out at the media, Fauci quickly walked back those comments, prompting reporters to press him if he was doing so “voluntarily” as Trump had shared a tweet the day before calling on the doctor to be fired. “Everything I do is voluntarily. Please. Don’t even imply that,” he seethed in response.
Asked to react to the unhinged presser that also featured Trump playing a bizarre campaign video to claim it was the media that originally minimized the risk of the virus, McCain blamed both sides over the “acrimonious relationship” reaching a “fever pitch.”
“I for one am sick of the kabuki theater where a journalist asks an incendiary question and the president reacts in an incendiary way,” she added before taking issue with Fauci getting grilled.
“I was particularly insulted in the questioning of Dr. Fauci,” the conservative host huffed. “The press cannot talk to Dr. Fauci like he’s Sean Spicer.”
“He seems to be the only person holding this country together and giving people on both sides good faith on what’s happening going forward,” she continued. “He actually started the tone of the press conference. He was very angry with the implication that he was not somehow in control of what he was saying, not in control of what he was doing. I took it as an implication that he was sort of a puppet with the administration.”
McCain’s remarks echoed a tweet she blasted out a couple of hours earlier in which she said the implication that Fauci is a “bobblehead puppet” for Trump is “beyond insulting” and calling on the press to “grow up with these reductive questions.”
In a later segment discussing Trump tweeting out a #FireFauci hashtag, McCain said that there was no danger of Trump firing the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, saying that such a concern has been a media invention.
“I think that’s something that’s being created by the media,” she declared. “I think that he is absolutely integral and I think the American public would just mutiny on several different levels, because again, he’s someone even on this show we are collectively in agreement that he’s someone who can be trusted.”
Fauci, for his part, has said that he doesn’t believe that the president has any intention of firing him, adding that he serves on the White House coronavirus task force at Trump’s pleasure.