The Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it was chilling to see the pressure put on scientists during the Trump administration by officials seeking to project rosy messaging about the coronavirus.

Iran PressAmerica: Anthony Fauci said on Friday night that officials under former President Trump pressed government scientists in what he said was an unusual dynamic compared with his work under past administrations, describing a situation where science was distorted and/or rejected.

"I didn’t want to be at odds with the president because I have a lot of respect for the office of the presidency, but there was a conflict at different levels with different people and different organizations and a lot of pressure being put on to do things that just are not compatible with the science," he said.

"It’s a real aberrancy," he later added. "This is my seventh administration and I’ve been advising administrations and presidents on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, people with different ideologies, and even with differences in ideology, there never was this real affront on science. So it really was an aberrancy that I haven’t seen in almost 40 years that I’ve been doing this. So it’s just one of those things that are chilling when you see it happen."

Trump’s actions have exacerbated the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States, rolled back environmental and public health regulations, and undermined science and scientific institutions. Some of the harm could be permanent.

Trump’s actions — and those of his staff and supporters — should come as no surprise. He lied about the dangers posed by the coronavirus and undermined efforts to contain it; he even admitted in an interview to purposefully misrepresenting the viral threat early in the pandemic.

Trump belittled masks and social-distancing requirements while encouraging people to protest against lockdown rules aimed at stopping disease transmission. His administration undermined, suppressed, and censored government scientists working to study the virus and reduce its harm. 

Even his appointees made political tools out of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ordering the agencies to put out inaccurate information, issue ill-advised health guidance, and tout unproven and potentially harmful treatments for COVID-19.