Trump Admin Preventing Dr. Fauci From TV Interviews on CBS, Host Says

CBS News host Margaret Brennan said on Sunday that the Trump administration has prevented Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), from appearing for interviews with her network for three months.

Brennan, a senior foreign affairs correspondent and the moderator of Face the Nation, made the remark during her show on Sunday. She suggested that the Trump administration has been preventing other health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from coming on CBS News as well.

"We're committed to bringing you the facts about the virus and the most knowledgeable guests that we can," Brennan said at the start of Face the Nation on Sunday. "We think it's important for our viewers to hear from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control. But we have not been able to get our request for Dr. Fauci approved by the Trump administration in the last three months. And the CDC, not at all," the journalist said.

"We will continue our efforts," she added.

Newsweek reached out to the White House, the NIAID and the CDC for comment, but they did not respond by the time of publication.

Fauci has done other interviews with networks and publications over the past few months, as have other public health officials from the administration. It's unclear why the NIAID director would be prevented from appearing on CBS News, or whether the decision is even based on an intentional bias against the network. CNN reported on Friday that Fauci and other public health officials had been unable to secure the Trump administration's approval to appear for television interviews in recent weeks.

On April 5, exactly three months ago, Fauci appeared for an interview with Brennan on CBS News. The public health official's most recent television interview took place on June 12 with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Trump has reportedly been unhappy at times with Fauci's straightforward and direct assessments about the trajectory of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has worsened steadily over the past few weeks. Although the increase in the death toll has slowed significantly since mid-April and early May, the total number of new coronavirus cases has escalated dramatically as has the number of hospitalizations in some states.

While Trump has pushed for fully reopening the country and returning to a semblance of normalcy, Fauci and other health officials have warned that the escalating number of cases will likely bring dire consequences.

"I think it's pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction," Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association for an interview published last week.

"There's this feeling of an all or none phenomenon, where you're either on lockdown or you're just going to say ... the devil may care and just let it all go," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on June 30 in Washington, D.C. Al Drago - Pool/Getty

Testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last Tuesday, Fauci said he was "very concerned."

"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned," he said.

Since then, the number of new daily cases has increased further, with well over 50,000 new infections reported nationwide on Thursday and Friday. The U.S. also remains to be the country in the world with the highest number of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus. As of Sunday afternoon, the U.S. had recorded more than 2.8 million infections and nearly 130,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tracker.

Trump Admin Preventing Dr. Fauci From TV Interviews on CBS, Host Says | U.S.