President Trump shared a tweet on Sunday that called for the firing of the country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has helped the Coronavirus Task Force and the White House host daily press briefings to provide the American people with the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 and subsequent restrictions and recommendations.
As the Washington Examiner reports, Fauci has recently drawn the ire of some Trump supporters as he has seemed to clash with the president over the potentiality of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to cure the coronavirus.
And, on Sunday, Fauci added more fuel to the fire when he said the Trump administration could have saved more lives if they acted sooner to enact social distancing guidelines.
“I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” the doctor said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” as MSN reports. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that. But what goes into those kinds of decisions is complicated. But you’re right. Obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down.”
“Later that day, Trump retweeted a message from a former Republican congressional candidate attacking Fauci,” the Washington Examiner reports.
The tweet was posted by DeAnna Lorraine, who unsuccessfully ran against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives,” she tweeted.
The tweet specifically called for Fauci to be fired as a result: “Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large. Time to #FireFauci.”
And Trump shared it—although his purpose in doing so is unclear.
“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape,” he said in response to the tweet. “I banned [travel from] China long before people spoke up. Thank you @OANN”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
As the Washington Examiner reports, Fauci and Trump have repeatedly denied that they have any tension with one another. Trump regularly praises Fauci and the work he has done, calling him “extraordinary” and once said, “We get along very well.”
Dr. Fauci and the president have publicly disagreed on several issues, including how long it will take to develop a vaccine and the president’s aggressive promotion of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, whose effects are unproven against the coronavirus. At a coronavirus task force briefing last week, Mr. Trump stopped Dr. Fauci from answering a question on the drug.
Dr. Fauci has become a celebrated figure among much of the public, which trusts him far more than Mr. Trump, according to polls. A Quinnipiac University survey last week found that 78 percent of Americans approved of Dr. Fauci’s handling of the crisis compared with 46 percent who approved of the president’s response. That has prompted resentment among other government officials, some of whom have privately criticized Dr. Fauci for playing to the media and not always sending consistent messages.