- With coronavirus cases rising across the country, Dr. Fauci believes the U.S. couldn’t be “positioned more poorly.”
- Fauci and President Trump’s relationship has been strained in recent months, with Trump recently calling Fauci a “disaster.”
- Fauci has said that Trump’s remarks are nothing but “noise.”
With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the country, and President Donald Trump still trying to downplay the severity of the pandemic, Trump’s relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci has become increasingly strained over the past few weeks.
Not too long ago, Trump said that the U.S. was on the verge of turning a corner with respect to combatting the coronavirus. All the while, the most up to date coronavirus data paints a disturbingly different picture. Over the past two weeks alone, the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. has jumped by 45% while the number of coronavirus related deaths has increased by 17%. What’s more, experts are anticipating those figures to increase even more now that colder weather is settling in across the country.
Addressing Trump’s comments during a recent interview with The Washington Post, Fauci didn’t mince words about where the U.S. currently stands in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” Fauci said. “It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”
Beyond that, Fauci intimated that the White House’s overall focus with respect to the coronavirus has waned over the past few weeks and months:
Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force meets less frequently and has far less influence as the president and his top advisers have focused on reopening the country. “Right now, the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly,” he said.
Fauci said he and Deborah Birx, coronavirus task force coordinator, no longer have regular access to the president and he has not spoken to Trump since early October. “The last time I spoke to the president was not about any policy; it was when he was recovering in Walter Reed, he called me up,” he said.
What’s more, Fauci also takes umbrage with the fact that the only doctor who currently has Trump’s ear — Dr. Scott Atlas — isn’t properly trained in the realm of infectious disease and is seemingly advocating a herd immunity based approach with respect to combatting the coronavirus.
“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”
There’s certainly no love lost between Trump and Fauci. Recall that Trump not too long ago said he would have been open to firing Fauci but for the fact that doing so would have been tantamount to political suicide.
All told, it’s clear that Fauci’s patience with Trump has been wearing thin as of late. Just a few weeks ago, Fauci was incensed that a Trump campaign video quoted him completely out of context.
Upon being made aware of Fauci’s disapproval, Trump called Fauci a “Democrat” and later called him a “disaster.”
Fauci was later asked if he thought Trump was trying to purposefully agitate him and get him to quit, to which Fauci responded:
I don’t think so. I don’t pay attention to that kind of thing. And I have the ability that I had for a long time to just focus like a laser on what I need to do. And my job, through vaccines, through therapies, and through public health measures, is to safeguard the health, the safety, and the welfare of the American public.
That’s all I concentrate on. These other kinds of things, though people may find it difficult to believe, are mere distractions. They don’t bother me. I know what my job is. And I’ve got to do it. And I’m going to do it. So that kind of, whatever you want to call it, it’s just noise.
As a final point, the White House today blasted Fauci for his aforementioned interview with the Washington Post.
“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement.
“As a member of the Task Force,” the statement continued, “Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp.”