The face of America’s COVID-19 pandemic response has been notably absent in recent weeks as Democratic messaging about the pandemic has done a complete 180.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical advisor to President Joe Biden and a key member of the White House’s COVID-19 response team, became a mainstay on cable news airways and in print media pages beginning in early 2020. In the past month, he’s hardly made any public appearances, and has been relegated largely to local news interviews and secondary cable networks.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has not made any media appearances to discuss COVID-19 since Feb. 23, when he did an interview with Bloomberg TV. He has not appeared on a major cable or network news show in nearly three weeks, since a Feb. 17 hit on CNN.
In the month of December alone, Fauci did 22 interviews or appearances with major national news outlets or programs — from Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show to Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox Business to a sit-down with The Atlantic. In January and February combined, he made only 15 such appearances. So far in March, he’s made zero.
He has found time for some other media activities. He recently spoke to The Telegraph about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine could lead to an outbreak of tuberculosis, and spoke to NBC 6 South Florida about Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “buck the CDC” COVID-19 guidance. But for whatever reason, the national media appearances to discuss the coronavirus pandemic have ground to a halt.
Dr. Ladapo on New Florida Right to Try Guidance: It’s been a tragedy that the medical community has stuck with the CDC and Fauci instead of relying on clinical wisdom and expertise.
Now doctors can decide what’s the best treatment for their patients in Florida. pic.twitter.com/U4uB5Q8ncg
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 3, 2022
Some have speculated that Fauci’s fade into the background is politically motivated. Biden has a fledgling approval rating for his handling of the pandemic, 8 months away from critical midterm elections in which Democrats will try to cling onto a majority in the House and Senate. (RELATED: It’s Now Clear How Misinformed The Public Has Been About The Risks Of COVID-19)
Democratic governors across the country began to rapidly, and simultaneously, move away from mask and vaccine mandates as polling shifted to indicate that most Americans want to move on from pandemic restrictions. An internal memo from Democratic firm Impact Research was recently leaked, arguing that Democrats should embrace a strategy of moving on from the pandemic while claiming credit for putting it in the rearview mirror with their policies.
Fauci’s personal messaging has taken the opposite tone. In February, just over a week before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its masking guidance so that a majority of Americans were no longer advised to wear face coverings, Fauci appeared on MSNBC to tell Chris Hayes that, despite Americans wanting to be done with COVID-19, COVID-19 wasn’t done with them. Around the same time, he warned PBS that we “can’t walk away” from the possibility that a new variant of the virus will arise and prevent a return to normalcy.
That’s a stark contrast compared to Biden’s messaging in his state of the union address, where he claimed credit for America diminishing the pandemic and said that, while some vigilance must be maintained, it’s time for people to get back to school, back to work and back to life as normal. Perhaps the disconnect is why Biden, who has lauded Fauci throughout his entire presidency and still features him at weekly White House COVID-19 response briefings, did not mention the doctor’s name a single time in that speech.