Can Drs. Birx and Fauci serve Trump in good conscience?

Can Drs. Birx and Fauci serve Trump in good conscience?

Frances Z. Brown write:

How should a decorated public health professional serving in the White House react when the president of the United States stands next to her and openly muses about the medical potential of injecting disinfectant? This is the moral dilemma facing Deborah Birx, Anthony Fauci, Robert Redfield and other physicians and scientists coordinating the government’s pandemic response. When President Trump offers sorcery over evidence-based medicine — as when he said, in February, that warm weather would make the coronavirus go away, or when he touted the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” before it was adequately studied — an expert can’t ethically stand by, tight-lipped, saying nothing. She has two choices: She can either quit or object.

Except the public health experts working for Trump don’t truly have either of those options. If they complain, publicly or even privately, there is ample reason to believe that Trump will shut them out, feel provoked and turn away from their sound, lifesaving counsel. (That’s how he treated Jeff Sessions and Marie Yovanovitch when they tried to take the high road.) And if they quit, there is ample reason to believe that the president will replace them with someone worse: a crony who lacks their expertise or capability. (The current defense secretary, attorney general and acting director of national intelligence were all brought in to replace agitators and proffer the advice Trump wants to hear. Rick Bright, removed last month as director of a government vaccine-development unit, had reportedly voiced doubts about an unproven therapy Trump praised.)

It is, truly, an impossible position, so don’t begrudge their work. Given the stakes, they have to stay. [Continue reading…]

CNBC reports:

The White House has blocked key Trump administration health official Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying at a House hearing on the U.S. coronavirus response next week.

The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies wanted Fauci, who has emerged as one of the most trusted voices on the virus, to appear at a Wednesday morning hearing on how the government has handled the pandemic. The panel was “informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement.

White House spokesman Judd Deere also confirmed the White House stopped the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from appearing before the House. He said that while the administration tries to combat the pandemic that has now killed more than 60,000 Americans, “it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings.”

“We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time,” Deere said in a statement. [Continue reading…]

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