Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Thursday that the White House’s efforts to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has emerged as a critical scientific voice on the Coronavirus Task Force, was probably “one of the biggest mistakes they’ve made.”
In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Hogan condemned what he called an “attack” and a “campaign” waged against the top infectious diseases expert by the White House as one of the biggest blunders that the Trump administration has made in its ongoing mishandling of the pandemic.
Hogan defended Fauci, who he said “has been the most respected most trusted voice and the guy we’re getting the most honest information from throughout this entire crisis.”
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past 36 years.
Hogan’s comments come after a memo was distributed by the White House to media outlets over the weekend with a list intending to smear Fauci while purporting to identify “the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
The President sought to deepen public doubt about the health official by sharing a tweet on Monday from former game show host Chuck Woolery, who accused the government’s medical experts of “lying” about the virus. In a CBS interview on Tuesday night, the President defended the tweet by saying he was re-posting a sentiment “that a lot of people feel.”
Hogan’s backing of Fauci follows an op-ed that he wrote in the Washington Post on Thursday ripping President Trump for what Hogan describes as a “bungled effort” and “hopeless” response to the coronavirus crisis.
Hogan said that the essay is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, “Still Standing: Surviving Cancer, Riots, a Global Pandemic, and the Toxic Politics that Divide America,” in which he critiques Trump in greater detail for failures made earlier on in the pandemic.
Hogan told Mitchell that the President was “wrong” to exclude Fauci from recent briefings from the Coronavirus Task Force, and also rebuked the President for ignoring some of the advice from his own team of experts.
The GOP governor, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, has been a prominent critic of Trump who he accused of playing a game of “pinball” and “mixed messaging” that often goes against the wisdom of science and is played out in threats and tweets.
“We just need the President to lead and focus on these issues and maybe not worry so much about his twitter account,” Hogan said.