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Solid science, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, are essential during this pandemic

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

It's hard to argue with Fauci, who has held his post through administrations of both parties since the early 1980s. But Trump stepped back up to give it a try.

"I'm probably more of a fan of that -- maybe than anybody," he said. "But I'm a big fan, and we'll see what happens. We all understand what the doctor (Fauci) said is 100% correct: It's early. But I have seen things that are impressive. We'll see. We're gonna know soon."

I have often said that if I ever write a book on Trump's presidency, the perfect title might well be, "We'll See What Happens." It seems to be his most-used conversational closer, regardless of the topic.

But this time he continued: "I feel good about it. That's all it is: Just a feeling. I'm a smart guy."

Right. As my copper bracelet-wearing dad used to say, whenever somebody tells you how smart they are, they probably aren't.

Still, Trump capped it off in familiar fashion: "I've been right a lot. Let's see what happens."

Yes, let's. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who don't want to wait.

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a New York family doctor, got this national conversation started after treating people with coronavirus-like symptoms with an experimental treatment that includes the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, a less-toxic derivative of chloroquine.

 

Sean Hannity, Fox News host and close Trump friend, promoted Zelenko's claims on his TV and radio shows. Mark Meadows, incoming White House chief of staff, called Zelenko to get more information. Rudy Giuliani also praised him in a podcast interview, and Trump began to promote it as "very effective" and possibly "the biggest game changer in the history of medicine," despite the lack of proper testing and research to support that.

Still, self-described "smart guy" Trump has been smart enough to keep Fauci on his coronavirus task force, despite some loony claims by paranoid right wing and, I would argue, anti-science conspiracy theorists.

The wing nuts suspect or claim to suspect Fauci, a leading expert and advocate of social distancing, is secretly trying to undermine Trump's reelection chances. In fact, he's a major asset in Trump's effort to stop the virus and keep his job.

But don't expect rational thinking from the paranoid right or left. The threats have led to Fauci's receiving enough death threats to be assigned enhanced personal security. Asked about it, he bravely shrugged off the threats and security as an unfortunate part of his job. But he deserves better. Much better.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

(c) 2020 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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