Iowa Governor Rejects Fauci’s Stay-at-Home Advice

Donald Trump’s characteristic (and characteristically unreflective) 180-degree turn last weekend on the need for much more rigorous quarantining to stop the coronavirus pandemic stimulated a number of Republican governors to get off the dime and issue the statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders that critics and many local government officials had been begging for. Almost immediately, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, Georgia’s Brian Kemp, and Alabama’s Kay Ivey acted, recognizing that the president was taking Dr. Anthony Fauci’s advice, leaving no safe haven for those wanting to play ostrich and keep businesses open at the risk of public health.

But some Republican chief executives — like Iowa’s Kim Reynolds — didn’t get the memo. And worse yet, she chose to suggest that Fauci, far and away the most respected coronavirus figure in the entire Trump administration, needed to become better informed, as the Des Moines Register reported Friday:

[Dr. Fauci] “maybe doesn’t have all the information” about Iowa’s mitigation efforts, Gov. Kim Reynolds said at Friday’s news conference. Asked about state-ordered shelter-in-place orders on CNN Thursday night, Fauci said “I don’t understand why that’s not happening” nationwide …

“I would say to him, does he recognize the fact that we have closed down schools and we’ve actually done that through (April) 30?” Reynolds said. “Is he aware of the various businesses that have been closed, restaurants and bars, through April 30 that we have implemented and no social gatherings of more than 10 people? That we have added additional closures to the orders that I have put in place based on data and metrics that we daily look at and move forward.”

Perhaps a better question is whether Reynolds recognizes the fact that she’s not going to win a credibility contest with Fauci; or if she is aware that his job-approval rating (according to Fox News) is 77 percent, and 85 percent among her fellow Republicans? Last time Morning Consult did its assessment of gubernatorial approval ratings, Reynolds weighed in with a meh 44 percent. She absolutely has the right to set her own policies for Iowa’s coronavirus response, dumb as they may seem, but she should probably find someone other than Fauci as a distant sparring partner when she’s in the mood to pick a fight.