Embattled White House coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci has been featured on the cover of this month’s InStyle magazine, even as a number of senior Trump administration figures publicly campaign against him.
Dr Fauci, who has reportedly been held back from appearing on TV by a White House keen to moderate his pessimistic messages about the pandemic, was interviewed for the magazine along with his wife by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.
The cover shows him sat by a pool in a button-down shirt, regarding the camera through dark glasses above the headline “the good doctor” – an unusually relaxed pose for a picture of the adviser, who during the pandemic has mostly been seen behind a podium, briefing a congressional committees or giving interviews and testimony via video conference.
The InStyle interview comes after Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro penned a furious op-ed for USA Today in which he said Dr Fauci “has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on”. The White House has disavowed the op-ed, saying it was not authorised through “normal clearance processes”.
Addressing the negative briefings against him emanating from the White House and elsewhere, Dr Fauci was circumspect. “Sometimes you say things that are not widely accepted in the White House, and that’s just a fact of life,” he told InStyle.
“I’m an apolitical person. I don’t like to be pitted against the president. It’s pretty tough walking a tightrope while trying to get your message out and people are trying to pit you against the president. It's very stressful.”
Unlike his fellow White House adviser Deborah Birx, whose selection of scarves and shawls briefly became a subject of sartorial fascination, Dr Fauci has rarely been discussed as a style icon. However, he has attracted warm public admiration as the pandemic has worn on.
A special digital cover: Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife, bioethicist Dr. Christine Grady spoke to @NorahODonnell about the battle against COVID-19, Fauci's contentious relationship with the White House and how he's staying sane (pro-tip: he power walks). https://t.co/CSM3KjFk3X pic.twitter.com/aNJno1CUkC— InStyle (@InStyle)July 16, 2020
This broad affection has developed into something of a fanbase, with devotees producing everything from Fauci t-shirts to Fauci mugs and - appropriately - Fauci face masks.
There is even a Change.org petition underway to get him recognised as People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”; it has so far gathered more than 26,000 signatures.