During a press briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that he disagreed with comments Dr. Anthony Fauci made in a recent TIME magazine interview, according to Fox News.
Specifically, Trump took issue with Fauci’s contention that the United States lacks the testing capacity to justify re-opening the economy, Fox reported.
“I am not overly confident”
Fauci had told TIME that the U.S. needs “to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them” in order to avoid “a situation where you have a test, but it can’t be done because there isn’t a swab, or because there isn’t extraction media or not the right vial.”
“I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases continued, according to Fox. “We are doing better, and I think we are going to get there, but we are not there yet.”
Fauci also denied in the interview that he feared being fired, explaining that he meets with Trump “literally every day” and insisting the president has “no intention to do that.”
“As he said publicly when he was asked about it, that’s not even on the table,” Fauci told the magazine, according to Fox. “My job always is, and I’ve always done it and will continue to do it, is to give advice on the basis of evidence and science.”
“I don’t agree with him”
While the president indeed has said he has no intention of firing Fauci, Trump didn’t agree with the health official’s assessment when it came to testing capacity. He told reporters at the Thursday press briefing that “other countries are calling us to find out what are we doing.”
“And by the way, within two weeks, you’ll see numbers, and you’ll see different forms of testing, just like we came up with the Abbott Laboratories machine, which gives it to you in five minutes, and everyone wants — everybody is asking, can we get that? But you can only make them so fast,” Trump added, according to a White House transcript.
He went on to assert that America has “done more testing than every other nation combined,” noting the nation’s large size relative to most other countries. “And so, when they look at statistics, statistically, we are doing phenomenally, in terms of mortality, in terms of all of the different elements that you can judge,” Trump told reporters. “If [Fauci] said that, I don’t agree with him.”
“We remain very hopeful”
During an interview earlier this week on the Wall Street Journal’s podcast, Vice President Mike Pence also made some positive predictions about the future of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.
“We remain very hopeful that if the current trajectory of the coronavirus epidemic continues that we could be in a much different place in early June than we are today,” he said, according to the Journal.
Trump, for his part, has shown throughout the pandemic that he wants to hear from the experts around him. He proved with his recent comments about Fauci, however, that he is not afraid to hold them accountable when he thinks they get it wrong.