Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has taken heat for months due to his relentless advocacy for extreme coronavirus lockdown measures.
Though buzz about potentially removing him from the White House coronavirus task force died down for some weeks as the election heated up, Donald Trump just revealed on Sunday that firing Fauci could be one of his first orders of business if he wins Tuesday’s election.
During a campaign rally in Opa Locka, Florida, the crowd began chanting “fire Fauci” as Trump discussed the development of the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
Trump responded to the chants: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait til a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice.”
“Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!”
— crowd at Miami #MAGA rally last night.
President Trump response: “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait til a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice.” pic.twitter.com/GOtXMkN1bC
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) November 2, 2020
Trump went on to note that Fauci had advised against shutting down travel to and from China in February, remarking that “he’s been wrong on a lot. He’s a nice man though.”
Fauci once again drew controversy and the ire of the right by appearing to endorse Democrat nominee Joe Biden’s coronavirus approach in an interview published by the Washington Post on Friday.
The Post wrote:
Fauci said former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country.”
Fauci went on to take a shot at the White House task force’s current role in the national conversation, complaining that “right now, the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly.”
White House fires back
Though Trump didn’t elaborate further on his plans for Fauci post-election, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere slammed Fauci’s comments about Trump’s approach to the virus, calling them “unacceptable.”
“It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” Deere said in a statement.
“As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that, instead choosing to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp,” Deere continued.
Trump has indicated on multiple occasions that he believes Fauci is a Democrat and friends with many powerful figures on the left, though he’s also attempted to maintain cordiality with Fauci despite their differences.