Dr. Anthony Fauci’s less than impressive first pitch on MLB's Opening Day earned him the derision of many critics, including the president's son.
The pitch: Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was given the honor of throwing out the ceremonial pitch on Thursday to kickoff the coronavirus-delayed season.
- The game was between his Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, and the New York Yankees in an empty Nationals Park.
- After striding onto the pitcher's mound in a Nationals' face mask and jersey, Fauci, 79, wound up and hurled the ball into the grass, well short and wide of home plate.
Anthony Fauci, First Pitch Mechanics. pic.twitter.com/QxszDQJDuu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2020
The reaction: Viewers of the nationally televised game were merciless in their assessment of Fauci’s performance.
The New York Post's front-page headline on Friday declared his throw "socially distant by 6 feet."
Gary Sheffield Jr., a sports journalist and son of retired MLB outfielder Gary Sheffield, took the opportunity to question Fauci's public health chops.
After that first pitch I would tell Fauci to stick to science but he doesn’t know what he’s doing there, either.— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) July 23, 2020
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the 45th president, killed Fauci with kindness.
Just a bit outside!!! pic.twitter.com/pf7hA99z3n— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 24, 2020
Blame Fauci?: Some Republican politicians and conservative commentators have long been suspicious of Fauci, faulting him for what they see as a destructive national overreaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
President Donald Trump and the White House last week denied seeking to discredit the veteran public health expert after several aides criticized his judgement.
- Trump told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace during an interview on Sunday that he and Fauci have a "very good relationship.”
- But the president also recounted some of Fauci's mistakes during the pandemic and called him "a little bit of an alarmist."
On Tuesday, Trump allies in Congress ripped GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming for defending Fauci and allegedly seeking to undermine Trump and his agenda.
We should all join @realDonaldTrump in advocating to stop our endless wars. Liz Cheney not only wants to stay forever, she’s leading the fight to try to stop him from leaving. Unacceptable. https://t.co/yCS93P3zos— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 21, 2020
Trump Jr. weighed in on Twitter, comparing Cheney to the only Republican who voted to impeach his father.
We already have one Mitt Romney, we don’t need another... we also don’t need the endless wars she advocates for. https://t.co/RDkJDA9UOZ— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 21, 2020
Trump this week projected greater concern than usual about COVID-19 while reviving the daily White House coronavirus briefings.
- But Fauci, a prominent member of the coronavirus task force, was not invited to attend.
The Yankees won Thursday’s game 4-1 after it was called due to rain.