Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday took his Trumpian rhetoric to Fox News in an op-ed rehashing his attacks against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus task force member whose grave warnings on COVID-19 were at odds with Trump’s downplaying of the pandemic that has killed more than 330,000 Americans thus far.
On Sunday, Rubio was dragged for his misguided tweet that took aim at Fauci as a way to further propel his newfound war against the “elite” — a common marching order among conservatives and Trumpworld figures who attempt to distract the public from their privileged backgrounds in an effort to paint those who refuse to do Trump’s bidding, including President-elect Joe Biden, as “elitists.”
Dr. Fauci lied about masks in March
Dr. Fauci has been distorting the level of vaccination needed for herd immunity
It isn’t just him
Many in elite bubbles believe the American public doesn’t know “what’s good for them” so they need to be tricked into “doing the right thing”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 27, 2020
A few days later, Rubio took his crusade against Fauci to the President’s on-again-off-again favorite network in an op-ed published Wednesday.
Rubio doubled down on his complaint that Fauci apparently “(lied) to the American people in order to manipulate their behavior” while also giving the nation’s top infectious disease expert a backhanded compliment by quipping that he “made the decision to mislead with nothing but good intentions.”
Rubio rehashed his complaints over Fauci’s early mistakes on mask guidance when COVID first hit the U.S. and his remarks on the threshold of vaccination needed for herd immunity that have shifted throughout the year.
Parroting the irony in Trump’s anti-elitist crusade, Rubio insinuated that Fauci is an “unelected technocrat” and an “unelected celebrity scientist” who misled the public.
“But it does mean that placing blind faith in unelected celebrity scientists — elevated by a media that award Emmys to negligent politicians with their own grisly records — has its limits, and we must not be afraid to call them out when they’re caught overstepping their legitimate authority,” Rubio said.
Rubio concluded his Fox News op-ed with yet another backhanded compliment aimed at Fauci.
“I do not question Dr. Fauci’s motives — I trust they are noble — but I am appalled by his arrogance. If he wants to lead the nation, he should run for office,” Rubio said. “Otherwise, he should give us an honest and transparent reading of the science, not polling data, and let the rest of us —policymakers and the American people who have elected them — do our jobs.”
Rubio’s op-ed comes on the heels of Fauci telling the Washington Post last week that he “really wants to find out” more about the unpredictable nature of the novel coronavirus and maintained that he is transparent about what he knows as well as what he doesn’t.
Despite his apparent distrust of Fauci, Rubio jumped on the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccine alongside a handful of members of Congress earlier this month.
Rubio’s adoption of Trumpian language could foreshadow establishment Republicans’ efforts at maintaining a stronghold in Trump’s populist messaging even after the President departs the White House next month.
The shift in tone by Rubio, who Trump mocked as “little Marco” during the 2016 presidential campaign trail, has backfired substantially on Twitter in recent weeks as his anti-elitist gripes have fallen flat given his background as a lawyer and a lifelong conservative politician.