SPONSORED:

McConnell says he has 'total' confidence in Fauci

McConnell says he has 'total' confidence in Fauci
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday threw his support behind Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states | CDC researchers find 'little evidence' of major school outbreaks, with precautions | Eli Lilly says antibody combo significantly cuts COVID-19 death risk Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states World surpasses 100M coronavirus cases MORE, as the nation's top infectious disease expert has come under fire from members of the Trump administration.  

Asked during a stop in Kentucky what his level of confidence is in Fauci, McConnell replied: "Total." 

McConnell's backing of Fauci comes as President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE and other top administration officials have tried in recent days to cast doubt on his medical advice. 

ADVERTISEMENT

There's been tension between the two men throughout the pandemic, with the president downplaying the severity of the virus and publicly breaking with the advice of his own public health officials. 

Republican lawmakers have repeatedly defended Fauci, who is widely respected on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Trump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (R-S.C.) said during a South Carolina press conference that trying to undermine Fauci was not "productive." 

"He's been around a long time. He's one of the smartest people I know. Has he been right all the time? No. We don't have a Dr. Fauci problem. ... I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci. I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly," Graham said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The questioning of public health officials comes as states around the country are seeing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. The United States has had nearly 3.5 million coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with 136,699 deaths. 

Fauci defended his record earlier this week saying that "you can trust respected medical authorities. ... I believe I’m one of them, so I think you can trust me.” 

The White House, on Wednesday, also sought to distance itself from an op-ed trade adviser Peter Navarro wrote Tuesday questioning the credibility of Fauci. 

"The Peter Navarro op-ed didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes and is the opinion of Peter alone," White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah tweeted. "@realDonaldTrump values the expertise of the medical professionals advising his Administration."