In an unusual rebuke of President Donald Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized the president and his administration for the federal government’s response to coronavirus pandemic.
Interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, Zuckerberg Thursday laid into the government for acting against the advice of experts.
“I just think that it was avoidable and if it’s really disappointing that we still don’t have adequate testing, that the credibility of top scientists like yourself and the CDC are being undermined and until recently that parts of the administration were calling into question whether people should even follow basic best practices like wearing masks,” Zuckerberg said.
The United States is facing new coronavirus infection records every day. Although many other countries have struggled to contain the disease, the trajectory of infections in the United States is off the charts.
“This government and our administration have been considerably less effective at handling this,” Zuckerberg noted.
Fauci explained that some states opened their economies too quickly and jumped over their own guidelines for reopening, ignoring the advice of experts. He noted other states properly followed protocols to safely reopen, but some citizens “went from lockdown to caution into the wind.” And Fauci said that the United States as a whole never allowed coronavirus infections to sink to a reasonable baseline, allowing infections to spiral out of control again.
“That’s a recipe for getting into trouble,” Fauci said.
Zuckerberg praised Fauci, who has been criticized (on and off the record) by the Trump administration for his leadership in directing response to coronavirus. But Zuckerberg said Fauci left out of his explanation of coronavirus’ return the government’s active ignorance and directives to disobey the best advice of scientists.
“You might be quite generous in your description of the government’s response,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg’s criticism of the Trump administration is particularly noteworthy because he has been widely rebuked for cozying up to Trump. Facebook, for example, has refused to take down or flag Trump’s controversial, hateful, misleading and false statements, which Zuckerberg has said remain important for public discourse.
After Trump posted “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Twitter said the post violated its rules, but Facebook made no such mention. That led more than 140 scientists who have received funding and support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan’s nonprofit initiative — to pen an open letter to Zuckerberg that urged him to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language.”
Zuckerberg’s decision to leave the Trump posts up has alienated many of the company’s own workers, too. Last month, some Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout over inaction on the matter.
One employee even quit his job in June, telling CNN Business he was worried that Facebook would be used to further escalate violence in the United States.
In response, Zuckerberg and Chan said in June they were “disgusted” by Trump’s remarks on the nationwide protests against racial injustice.
Originally published at CNN Business