McConnell says he has ‘total’ confidence in Fauci
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday threw his support behind Anthony Fauci, 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.”
Video via CBS affiliate @WLKY
Q: “What’s your level of confidence in Dr. Fauci at this point?”
McConnell: “Total.” pic.twitter.com/b5PdtYQoRO
— Alan He (@alanhe) July 15, 2020
McConnell’s backing of Fauci comes as President Trump and other top administration officials have tried in recent days to cast doubt on his medical advice.
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 Graham (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.
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.”