National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and White House coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci acknowledged his differences with President Trump in response to the coronavirus outbreak, but stopped short of criticizing him during a Sunday morning interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
When asked by CBS’ Margaret Brennan about differing from Trump in his attempt to offer medical advice — saying that a combination of two drugs, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, could possibly help with treating the coronavirus — and whether he sees a concern that those drugs could become oversubscribed, Fauci responded that’s an issue of where he and the President are coming from.
Fauci said that Trump was basing his remarks off of “anecdotal reports” to express hope that if those drugs work, it’s worth trying to push their usage.
“I, on the other side, have said I’m not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work,” Fauci said. “So I was taking a purely medical, scientific standpoint and the president was trying to bring hope to the people.”
Fauci added that he disagrees with the notion that he has a fundamental difference with Trump, saying that the President was “coming from it from a hope layperson standpoint.”
Fauci echoed similar sentiments during a New York Times report Saturday evening, saying that he’s “publicly had to say something different with what [Trump] states” but added that the President is a “smart guy” who has listened to his remarks.”
“I don’t want to embarrass him. I don’t want to act like a tough guy, like I stood up to the President. I just want to get the facts out,” Fauci told the Times. “And instead of saying, ‘You’re wrong,’ all you need to do is continually talk about what the data are and what the evidence is. And he gets that. He’s a smart guy. He’s not a dummy. So he doesn’t take it — certainly up to now — he doesn’t take it in a way that I’m confronting him in any way. He takes it in a good way.”
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
Fauci: "I was taking a purely medical, scientific standpoint and the President was trying to bring hope to the people." pic.twitter.com/dydMIhbEfD
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 22, 2020