During a White House press briefing on Saturday, President Trump gave an update on the coronavirus, and he and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, rejected claims that the health official had been muzzled from speaking to the public about the dangers of the coronavirus.
The New York Times reported on Thursday, that Fauci had been instructed by the White House not to say anything else without clearance after he had said the virus had adapted well to human species and had a higher mortality rate than influenza.
A reporter asked the president at the White House Saturday: “From the very beginning you received a lot of criticism regarding that, in particular about Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is world-renowned in contagious diseases. And there were reports out there that he was being muzzled. Can you tell us that this widely respected expert, Dr. Fauci, will have every opportunity to tell us the truth and the press?”
President Trump fired back telling the reporter that she asked a “very dishonest question”.
“That’s a very dishonest question because he has had that ability to do virtually whatever he’s wanted to do. He was never muzzled. … Very dishonest question,” the president insisted before Dr. Fauci set the record straight.
Dr. Anthony Fauci stepped to the podium to respond, telling the reporter, “Let me clarify. I have never been muzzled, and I’ve been doing this since the administration of Ronald Reagan.” Continued Below
“I’m not being muzzled by this administration. What happened, which was misinterpreted, is that we were set up to go on some shows. And when the vice president took over, we said, ‘Let’s regroup and figure out how we’re gonna be communicating,'” Dr. Fauci explained.
“So I had to just stand down on a couple of shows and resubmit for clearance. And when I resubmitted for clearance, I got cleared. So I have not been muzzled at all. That was a real misrepresentation of what happened, he added. Video Below
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s official remarks:
A reporter just asked President Trump: Why have you been muzzling Doctor Fauci?
"I’ve never been muzzled and I’ve been doing this since Reagan." Doctor Fauci responded. pic.twitter.com/qqqavAT4GR
— Francis Brennan (@FrancisBrennan) February 29, 2020
President Trump gives an update on the coronavirus: