Better late than never.
Dr. Anthony Fauci praised President Trump Tuesday for finally agreeing to wear a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was very pleased to see the president wearing a mask ... and tweeting about masks,” Fauci told NPR. “I think we’ve turned the corner on the road of a consistent message.”
Fauci said he wasn’t sure if he would be invited to speak later Tuesday alongside at the briefing of the White House coronavirus task force.
“I would imagine I would be in on at least some of it,” he said. “If not, that’s OK too as long as the message gets across.”
CNN reported that neither Fauci nor any other members of the coronavirus task force are expected to speak at the briefing.
Trump has pointedly sidelined the nation’s foremost pandemic doctor in recent weeks as the White House worked to shift the nation’s focus from keeping the virus under control to reopening the economy.
The president’s been forced to rethink that strategy as coronavirus has spread like wildfire in recent weeks, especially in states that reopened early.
Trump stubbornly refused to be photographed wearing a mask for months even as public health experts pleaded with him to set an example for the nation.
Following his lead, many of Trump’s right-wing supporters now resist wearing masks and claim without evidence that they are part of a liberal plot to humiliate Trump or curtail their freedoms.
Top White House aides have trashed Fauci publicly and the two men have barely spoken in two months, even as the situation on the ground worsens by the day.
Trump himself branded the bespectacled Brooklyn native as an “alarmist” in a shocking interview over the weekend, even though most of the doctor’s warnings about the pandemic have proved accurate.
Fauci pushed back against that attack, saying he considers himself to be a “realist, not an alarmist.”
The lack of a common message about whether Fauci would even appear at the much-hyped return of Trump’s nightly coronavirus press conferences points to the dysfunctional White House communications strategy.
Trump has relaunched the events two months after abruptly stopping them over criticism of his bizarre suggestion that people could inject disinfectant to fight COVID-19.
Some of Trump’s advisers believe the attention-grabbing briefings may help him regain some ground in polls, which show him falling far behind Democrat Joe Biden. Others warn that the previous round was disastrous for Trump because they gave Americans a nightly look at his inability to chart a clear and decisive plan to fight the pandemic.