Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, insisted in an episode of his podcast on Wednesday that Fauci had “set up President Trump for failure in the fall.” He was reacting to Fauci’s testimony before a Senate committee this week, during which Fauci questioned efforts by some elected officials, including a number of Trump allies, to “reopen” schools and businesses shuttered in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus…

“Understand this,” he said. “Tony Fauci has not been around from 1984 because he doesn’t know how to play the game. He is a master game-player.”…

Rare is the case where a leading scientist becomes a boogeyman in national politics. But the country finds itself in rare times. Fauci has served Republican and Democratic presidents alike but none like Trump, who has been as keen on monitoring Fauci’s media hits as he is at consuming his public-health policy advice. According to a White House official, the president has often played back TIVO’d Fauci interviews when he isn’t able to catch them live.

“The president knows how much the liberal media loves Dr. Fauci,” this official said. “There are times he thinks that can be played to [Trump’s] advantage. There are other moments when he finds it irritating.”