Damage control: Obama played wingman for Fauci during visit to D.C. elementary school

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool

It sure looks like the push is on for damage control for Dr. Anthony Fauci, currently under fire for his enlarged ego and his decision to go fully political during his television interviews. What better way to deflect from some bad publicity than to get Barack Obama to play wingman during a visit to an elementary school in Washington, D.C.?

Kimball Elementary hosted a pop-up vaccination clinic for the children and their parents Tuesday. In what is being described as a “surprise visit”, Fauci and Obama stopped by to talk about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage everyone to take the jab. Both men gave a speech and advised anyone with questions about the vaccines to talk with their doctors.

‘We are just getting through the holiday season and we have one more thing to be thankful for, which is that we can get kids vaccinated if they’re between the ages of 5 and 11,’ Obama told the crowd of students, teachers and parents at Kimball Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.

‘Nobody really loves getting a shot. I don’t love getting a shot. But I do it because it’s going to help keep me healthy.’

‘[The vaccinations] are really going to protect you. We know that from a lot of data, and a lot of experience we have,’ Fauci told the rally.

‘It’s also going to help keep schools open because the more kids are vaccinated, the less likely that we’re going to have a COVID outbreak in the schools. And that means our kids have a chance to learn together and socialize — you know, do all the things that you’re supposed to be doing when you’re 5 or 6 or 7 or 11.’

Fauci, addressing these concerns, encouraged families to voice their vaccination concerns to a trusted medical professional.

Obama echoed his sentiment: ‘I think it’s really important for everyone to be informed and to talk to an informed health-care professional.

‘Talk to your family doctor. Talk to your pediatrician and get the information you need to make an informed decision.’

The local teachers union was happy to support the visit. Children were given books on Obama and Fauci and stickers as they waited in line for a shot.

It sure looks like a very organized and well-planned surprise visit. It’s not like the two men were driving down the street and said, hey, let’s stop in at that vaccine clinic and say hello to the kids. This is clearly a public relations move from Team Biden with Barack Obama playing wingman for the embattled scientist. I say that because also yesterday, Fauci appeared with Biden and Kamala as Sleepy Joe delivered some remarks on the omicron variant at the White House. Biden even called upon Fauci to briefly answer a question from a reporter. Kamala, as usual, stood masked and mute throughout their appearance. Two events in one day for Fauci, both with cameras rolling, one with the current president and one with the former president, is not normal. It looks a bit too on-the-nose after Fauci’s disastrous Sunday morning show interview where he declared himself as the official representative of science. He said that politicians are liars and he is science.

Something else was off about this joint appearance. Fauci and Obama were preaching to the choir. Most of those who came to the pop-up clinic came because they wanted the vaccine and some were receiving their second doses. The men were not changing hearts and minds here. These were people who already understood the value of getting vaccinated.

Later, some students said they realized it was more than a run-of-the-mill after-school event: Teachers milled around the halls after the closing bell, Secret Service agents inspected the crowd, and reporters stood at the ready before Obama made his entrance.

“I thought Joe Biden was going to walk through the door,” one student told reporters.

Obama is an active former president, not ready to fade from the spotlight as other former presidents have traditionally done. Perhaps the new normal is for former presidents to remain politically active – Trump is doing it too, as he teases another run for president. We can expect Obama to be called upon more frequently to rescue Biden as his favorability numbers continue to sink and his administration’s inability to address the various crises continue to be exposed.