Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted that he maintains a cordial relationship with President Trump even as the nation’s top infectious disease expert would call the President out for spewing falsehoods on the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 Americans thus far.
In an interview published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Fauci said he “really wants to find out” more about the unpredictable nature of the novel coronavirus. Fauci added that he is focused “like a laser beam” and is transparent about what he knows as well as what he doesn’t.
Despite Trump signaling earlier this year that he might fire Fauci, whose grave warnings on COVID-19 starkly contrasted those of the President, the White House coronavirus task force member maintained that they have remained cordial this year.
Recalling how Trump asked him why he couldn’t paint a rosier picture of COVID-19, Fauci said he replied by saying he is “trying to give a correct interpretation of what’s going on.”
Even after Trump griped that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Fauci claimed that his rapport with Trump remained friendly.
Citing the day after the President mocked the nation’s top infectious disease expert for his botched ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Nationals Park, Fauci compared his interactions with Trump to both of them being native New Yorkers.
“We’ve kind of had a little bit of a New York bond, if you want to call it that,” Fauci told the Post.
Fauci stressed that although he’s not fond of media coverage that pits him against Trump, he can’t just sit back and let Trump get away with the rosy picture he’s tried to paint on COVID-19.
“When [Trump] started to say things that were outright incorrect, I could not just stand there and shake my head and say it’s okay. I had to go to the microphone,” Fauci told the Post.
Fauci said that he “didn’t intend to be anti-Trump” and that he maintained his “apolitical position.”
“But I couldn’t stand there and not say anything and being complicit in things that were completely untrue,” Fauci told the Post.
Earlier this month, President-elect Joe Biden tapped Fauci to be his chief medical adviser in his incoming administration.
Unlike Fauci, fellow White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx said on Tuesday that she will retire, citing concerns about the treatment of her family after reports surfaced that she traveled to join family over Thanksgiving weekend after publicly discouraging Americans from making trips during the recent holiday.
Last week, Birx, who has come under fire for not disputing Trump’s suggestions of unproven COVID-19 treatments during White House coronavirus task force briefings, insisted that she made “very clear” to Trump her “interpretation of the epidemic” in private remarks.