For the past six weeks, amid the storms that roll across the Trump sea, there’s been one isle of calm: Anthony Fauci.
Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a prominent member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force – and, for many people, the lone voice among that group who provides them with some peace of mind and stability.
During the fight against the virus, a sort of cult of Fauci has arisen – reminiscent of those who revere Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Raygun, an Iowa-based clothing company, sells “Dr. Fauci is my hero” T-shirts and one with the words “In Fauci We Trust” emblazoned on the front. There are Fauci cupcakes, Fauci donuts and Fauci votive candles.
A new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows just how well-regarded Fauci is by a broad swath of Americans.
Six in 10 Americans say they trust what Fauci says on coronavirus while just 8% say they don’t trust the doctor.
Now, compare Fauci’s +52 on the trust question (“trust” minus “don’t trust”) to other major players in the coronavirus fight:
* “Your state’s governor”: +46 (not bad!)
* New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: +29
* Donald Trump: -16 (not good!)
* Mike Pence: -2
* Joe Biden: -3
So, aside from “your state’s governor,” no one comes close to being as trusted as Fauci when it comes to the coronavirus. And, “your state’s governor” isn’t on the national coronavirus task force.
What’s fascinating about Fauci’s numbers are that they are strong across the political spectrum – despite some conservatives suggesting that his push for social distancing and stay-at-home orders were (and are) an overreaction.
Yes, Democrats are most likely to trust Fauci (72% say they do) but so do a majority of Republicans (51%). And a similar majority of independents (52%) trust what the doctor says too.
What the Fauci trust numbers suggest is that if Trump were to make good on consistent rumors that he will remove Fauci from the task force due to the doctor’s independent streak, it would be a major mistake for the President. And one that would further – and badly – erode confidence in the coronavirus task force.
The Point: No one is untouchable in the world of Donald Trump. But Fauci’s numbers is this poll should make him pretty close to un-fireable.