Lincoln Project Defends 'American Hero' Fauci by Comparing His Coronavirus Response to Trump's

A PAC spearheaded by George Conway is going after President Donald Trump for his response to the coronavirus by comparing his record with that of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The Lincoln Project, which was co-founded by Conway, the husband of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, released an ad on Wednesday that called Fauci an "American hero" and applauded him for being a truth-teller about the new coronavirus. In contrast, the ad labeled Trump "Donald the dope," said he "lied" about the new coronavirus outbreak and urged voters to oust him from office in the upcoming election.

The PAC, which aims to block Trump's re-election, contrasted the president's comment that the coronavirus would disappear "like a miracle" with Fauci saying there would be more cases and things would get worse. It added that the president is criticizing Fauci now because "Trump failed America" and that his modus operandi is to "attack and blame."

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Fauci, who has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, hasn't been shy about breaking with Trump on the pandemic, sparking rumors that he's walking a fine line with the president. The White House and Fauci have denied there is tension between them, but in recent days Trump and members of his administration have openly criticized the infectious diseases expert.

On Thursday, Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity that Fauci is a "nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes." Days later, Daniel Scavino, Jr., the White House's deputy chief of staff for communications, posted a political cartoon mocking Fauci as "Dr. Faucet" on Facebook. And trade adviser Peter Navarro told The Washington Post that Fauci has "good bedside manner with the public" but was "wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on." As far as Fauci's advice is concerned, Navarro said, he listens to it "with caution."

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany maintains the two have a "very good working relationship" and said during a Monday briefing that Trump continues to appreciate Fauci's advice. Earlier in the day, she told Fox News that Fauci's opinion represents one viewpoint and that he makes his recommendations solely from a public health standpoint while others look at the consequences of business closures.

"The point of the task force is to be a whole-of-government look at what's best for the country," McEnany told Fox News. "Dr. Fauci's one member of a team, and rest assured the information gets to the president through the task force."

Polls show that Americans largely disagree with how Trump has responded to the coronavirus, and the president trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in swing-state polls. Looking toward the future, the Lincoln Project's ad said people can "protect our families" by not voting for Trump in November.

fauci lincoln project george conway trump
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, flanked by President Donald Trump, speaks during the daily briefing on the coronavirus on April 22. On Wednesday, the Lincoln Project released an ad criticizing Trump's comments about the outbreak and praising Fauci. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty