- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci is denying multiple claims in Bob Woodward’s latest book, including that President Trump downplayed the coronavirus threat for political reasons.

Dr. Fauci, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, also denied quotes attributed to him in the book, titled “Rage.”

In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Dr. Fauci said, contrary to claims in the book, that Mr. Trump never described the threat privately in ways he wasn’t doing so publicly or otherwise trying to distort data.

“I don’t recall anything different than in our discussions that we had with the president, that he said things quite similar publicly,” Dr. Fauci said, while specifying that he hadn’t yet read “Rage.”

“I didn’t see any discrepancies between what we told [Mr. Trump] and what he told the public,” he continued.

When Fox News host John Roberts asked whether he believed Mr. Trump was downplaying the threat, the eminent epidemiologist responded with several denials.

“No, no, no, I didn’t. I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything,” he said.

Dr. Fauci himself has acknowledged a gap between his own public and private words, admitting that, in the early stages of the pandemic, he downplayed the effectiveness of and need for the public to wear masks.

He said later that he feared a run on a supply of masks that hospital and health workers needed more, before production could ramp up.

In Wednesday’s Fox News interview, Dr. Fauci also denies some of words that Mr. Woodward’s book attributes to him.

Mr. Roberts cited one passage in which Mr. Woodward wrote “Fauci at one point tells others that the president ‘is on a separate channel’ and unfocused in meetings , with ‘rudderless’ leadership … ‘His attention span is like a minus number,’ and ‘his sole purpose is to get re-elected.’”

Dr. Fauci denied all that and noted that Mr. Woodward had used hearsay constructions.

“If you notice, it was ‘others have said that,’ so you should ask ‘others.’ I don’t recall that at all,” Dr. Fauci told Fox News.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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