White House COVID-19 task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci defended himself on Monday after President Donald Trump called him an “alarmist” with regards to the doctor’s warnings about the pandemic as cases surge in multiple states.
“I consider myself a realist, as opposed to an alarmist,” Fauci told NBC News correspondent Maria Shriver during an interview on Instagram Live.
“So that’s an unfair description? You’re with dealing with reality, as you would like to say?” Shriver asked.
“I believe so,” the doctor replied. “But then again, others have different opinions.”
Fauci stated that contrary to Trump’s remarks, he was actually hopeful about the situation, believing that the country will be able to unite to curb the virus.
“You want adjectives to describe me? I’m a realist, but I’m also an optimist,” he told Shriver. “I’m a cautious optimist, and I have faith in the American people.”
During an interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Trump claimed Fauci was “a little bit of an alarmist,” a dig that further amplified his and the White House’s efforts to discredit the doctor as the ever-worsening COVID-19 outbreak threatens the President’s chances of reelection.
John Hopkins University reports that as of Tuesday morning, there are more than 3.8 million cases in the U.S. while nearly 141,000 Americans have died from the virus.