Trump Suggests He Would Fire Dr. Fauci After The Election
“He’s been wrong a lot, he’s a nice man though,” Trump said to a crowd of rally attendees in Florida late Sunday night.
President Donald Trump suggested he would fire leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci from the White House coronavirus task force, escalating tensions between himself and health experts.
During a rally in Opa-Locka, Florida on Sunday night, the crowd burst into a “CNN sucks!” chant as Trump was speaking about “the fake news” following his rallies.
“Because all they want to do, you turn on the news — COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID,” Trump said.
The crowd then burst into a “Fire Fauci!” chant, as Trump listened and did not discourage it. He then said “don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”
“He’s been wrong a lot, he’s a nice man though,” Trump said, then referenced public health advice earlier in the pandemic that advised against mask-wearing. “Do not, under any circumstances wear a mask.”
The president did not wear a mask until four months into the pandemic, significantly after public health officials recommended wearing them to prevent the spread of the virus.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has worked closely with the White House since the beginning of the pandemic.
During an interview with CNBC’s Shepard Smith on Wednesday, Fauci said he hadn’t spoken to Trump in “quite a while” and endorsed a nationwide mask mandate. On Friday, Fauci told the Washington Post that the country was in for “a lot of hurt,” as COVID-19 cases continue to surge to record-breaking numbers.
“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,” Fauci said.
He also said leaders need to make an “abrupt change” to control the surge, as the winter months and flu season approach. Last month, the U.S. reported high numbers of new daily coronavirus cases nationwide and a spike in cases in rural areas. Fauci predicts the country could surpass 100,000 new cases per day if the trend continues.
Trump, who himself was hospitalized with COVID-19, has continued to hold rallies in recent weeks with large crowds of people not wearing masks. Several recent studies have linked the president’s rallies to case outbreaks and deaths. According to new study from Stanford University, researchers found that the rallies “likely” led to more than 30,000 new cases and nearly 700 deaths. The study said the cases are likely from attendees and those who they spread the virus to afterward.