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For whatever reason, The View had Trump ass kisser, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R. SC) on as their guest. Of course he parroted Trump by blaming China to deflect any blame on how piss poorly the Trump Administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. But The Daily Beast points out that Graham has another person to blame who’s name isn’t Trump: Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Graham then looked down at his prepared notes to take aim at someone else. “Here's what Dr. Fauci said on February the 29th,” he said. “I think most of us trust him. At least I do.”

He quoted a question that Fauci received on the Today show that read: “People are waking up right now with real concerns about this. They want to go to malls and movies, maybe the gym as well. Should we be changing our habits and, if so, how?”

Fauci replied, “No. Right now, at this moment, there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day by day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.” Graham conspicuously left out the warning he delivered in the same interview that “this could be a major outbreak.”

“So on February the 29th, the preeminent guy in the nation felt like it was OK to go to a movie or a gym,” Graham said, before adding, ominously, “So I would rather look forward than backwards.”

Kudos to PoltiFact for providing context here:

We found two televised appearances by Fauci on Feb. 29. One was an interview in the morning with Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander on NBC’s Today Show. The other was a press briefing with Trump and other officials that afternoon.

On the Today Show, Fauci did say that the lack of widespread, confirmed community spread meant that it was not yet time for radical responses like shutting down large gatherings and businesses. But he did not go as far as the tweet described. He didn’t say that “there was nothing to worry about” or that coronavirus “posed no threat to the U.S. public at large.”

Instead, his message was that the nation needed to remain vigilant for a possible worst-case scenario. Here are the relevant portions of that interview:

Alexander: “So, Dr. Fauci, it’s Saturday morning in America. People are waking up right now with real concerns about this. They want to go to malls and movies, maybe the gym as well. Should we be changing our habits and, if so, how?”

Fauci: “No. Right now, at this moment, there’s no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day by day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. I’ve said that many times even on this program. You’ve got to watch out because although the risk is low now, you don’t need to change anything you’re doing. When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.”

Welker: “Dr. Fauci, quickly, how does this all end?”

Fauci: “You know, it ends if you — it depends on the nature of the outbreak. I mean, this could be a major outbreak. I hope not. Or it could be something that’s reasonably well controlled. At the end of the day, this will ultimately go down. Hopefully we could protect the American public from any serious degree of morbidity or mortality. That’s the reason why we’ve got to do the things that we have in our plan.”

With the benefit of a month of hindsight, this may seem like a less-than-ringing endorsement of the types of social distancing policies that would soon become required far and wide.

Even so, the tweet exaggerates its case. Fauci repeatedly emphasized the difference between the situation on Feb. 29 and what could happen in the future. In just this two-paragraph exchange, Fauci used the phrases, “right now, at this moment,” “this could change,” “you’ve got to watch out,” and “this could be a major outbreak.”

Fauci offered a similar message in the afternoon press conference.

He said, “The country as a whole, because we get asked that all the time, still remains at low risk. But when we say that, we want to underscore that this is an evolving situation, and in real time we will keep you apprised of what is going on, just the same way as we are doing it today.”

Later in the briefing, Fauci said, “We need to prepare for further challenges, and we will have them. You will hear about the additional cases that will be coming on. You should not be surprised by that, but to realize that that is something that is anticipated when you get community spread.”

We need more people like Dr. Fauci in charge to get us through this pandemic, but of course Graham has kissed Trump’s ass enough to be put in a higher position of power:

Earlier today, South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott announced he would be on the Presidential Task Force focused on reopening the economy. Now, his fellow SC Senator  Lindsey Graham will join him.

President Donald Trump has been piecing together a bipartisan task force that will work on reopening the economy, and Sen. Graham announced he is a part of it.

“I look forward to working with President Trump and the other members of the Task Force to find ways to safely reopen the economy. We must go on offense against the coronavirus by expanding our capability for widespread testing and producing effective therapies and vaccines,” Graham said in a press release.

But there’s some good news:

There’s big news out of South Carolina: Jaime Harrison, the Democrat running to unseat Sen. Lindsay Graham, outraised his opponent during the first quarter of 2020.

Harrison’s campaign announced late Wednesday that he’d raised more than $7.3 million from January through March of 2020; Graham, meanwhile, took in only $5.6 million. This is the first time that Harrison has put up higher fundraising numbers than his GOP opponent, though Graham still has roughly $4.8 million more than Harrison on hand.

Harrison, a longtime Democratic operative close to South Carolina power broker Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), is the first credible challenger to the three-term Graham in some time. As I wrote in my profile of Harrison earlier this year, he’s premised his campaign on a return to decency and the excoriation of Graham, who spent the last four years transforming from a Never Trumper to a loyal Trump devotee. While Harrison was recognizable in Democratic circles after his years as state party chair and a run at DNC national chair in 2017, he was a relative unknown among most South Carolinians when he announced his candidacy last year. Clay Middleton, a fellow South Carolina DNC official close to Harrison, said Harrison’s would need to become a “household name—or at least a name someone would recognize” if he were to have a shot at unseating Graham in a state the president won by 14 points in 2016.

Let’s keep up the momentum and get rid of Graham. Click here to donate and get involved with Harrison’s campaign.

  • April 17, 2020