In the final weeks of his re-election campaign, President Donald Trump faces tough polls in key states and major financial disadvantage, despite a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans and millions in distress. In response, Trump introduced a new line of attack against former Vice President Joe Biden: "He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci."
At a rally in Phoenix, Arizona Monday, Trump told the crowd in derogatory tones that "Biden wants to close it," and he followed the advice of the Director of the National Allergy and Infectious Disease Institute, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The day before, at a rally in Carson City, Nevada, Trump mocked Biden by saying, "He's going to listen to the scientists. If I listened fully to the scientists, we would now have a country in a massive depression."
Biden's tweet below indicates that he probably isn't worried about this line of scrimmage.
The Washington Post reported that this attack may have less to do with Biden and more to do with Fauci, who gave a critical 60-minute interview that reportedly angered the president. During the interview, Fauci said that "the president's behavior made it unsurprising that he had caught the coronavirus and that the government had tried to blow his nose." The next day, Trump called him when he attacked Biden in Arizona.
Trump could have a hard time getting more supporters by denigrating the 79-year-old public health expert. A survey by Morning Consult from October 9th to 11th at 1,986 registered voters shows that "almost 2 out of 3 voters rate Dr. Fauci's coronavirus response as excellent or good". In stark contrast, Trump "never surpassed the 42 percent of voters" who gave him a "good or excellent" rating at the end of April. In early October, this poll found that 58 percent of voters think Trump's handling of the virus was "bad" or "only fair".
Another poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted August 28 through September 3 of 1,199 American adults, found 68 percent of voters who "very much" or "fairly" trust Dr. Fauci have to "provide reliable information about the coronavirus". The same poll has only 40 percent of voters saying the same thing about Trump.
Whether it's personal vengeance or a strategic move, this is likely not the enabler Trump needs to disrupt the race.
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