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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended Anthony Fauci at a press conference Tuesday in the wake of attempts by anonymous Trump administration officials to undermine the nation's top infectious diseases expert.
What he's saying: "We don't have a Dr. Fauci problem. We need to be focusing on doing things that get us to where we need to go. So I have all the respect in the world for Dr. Fauci."
- "I think any effort to undermine him is not going to be productive, quite frankly," Graham added.
Why it matters: Fauci, one of the most trusted public health experts in the country, has been targeted by Trump's allies due to his frank assessments about the failures of the U.S. response to the coronavirus — which often contradict President Trump's and other top officials' more sunny outlooks.
- Over the weekend, a number of media outlets received a statement from an unnamed White House official that listed the times Fauci was "wrong on things" in the pandemic's early days.
- But as the Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out, many of the quotes the official cited omitted Fauci's caveats and ignored the fact that Trump himself had parroted some of the same talking points.
- On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that the White House released "opposition research" on Fauci and claimed that he and Trump "have always had a very good working relationship." Fauci has said he has not been asked to brief the president in at least two months.