Trump: Dr Fauci is not ‘a team player’
DONALD TRUMP has insisted that he gets on with Dr Anthony Fauci just a day after claiming that the American people are tired of listening to the US’s top infectious disease specialist.
But the president also said that the doctor who has clashed with him at times over coronavirus is not “a team player”.
Mr Trump’s strained relationship with Dr Fauci has political overtones as the president defends his record on coronavirus just two weeks before election day, with polls showing him trailing Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states.
“He’s a nice guy,” Mr Trump said of Dr Fauci in a telephone interview with TV show Fox & Friends from the White House ahead of an evening rally in Pennsylvania.
“The only thing I say is he’s a little bit sometimes not a team player,” Mr Trump added, denying that the two were “at odds”.
Mr Trump is facing pressure to
turn around his campaign and hoping for the type of last-minute surge that gave him a come-from-behind victory four years ago.
“I’m not running scared,” Mr Trump told reporters during his western campaign swing. “I’m running angry. I’m running happy, and I’m running very content because I’ve done a great job.”
Seeking to shore up the morale of his staff amid growing private concerns that he is running out of time to make up lost ground, Mr Trump criticised his government’s own scientific experts as too negative, even as his handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 people in the United States, remains a central issue to voters.
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Mr Trump said of the government’s top infectious disease expert. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster.”
At a rally in Prescott, Arizona, Mr Trump assailed Mr Biden for pledging to heed the advice of scientific experts, saying dismissively that his rival “wants to listen to Dr Fauci”.
Mr Trump’s rejection of scientific advice on the pandemic has already drawn bipartisan condemnation.
At his rally, Mr Trump also ramped up his attacks on the news media, singling out NBC’s Kristen Welker, the moderator of the next presidential debate.
He continued to criticise her yesterday, saying she cannot be neutral. Mr Biden was off the campaign trail on Monday, but his campaign praised Dr Fauci and criticised Mr Trump for “reckless and negligent leadership” that “threatens to put more lives at risk”.
“Trump’s closing message in the final days of the 2020 race is to publicly mock Joe Biden for trusting science and to call Dr Fauci, the leading public health official on Covid-19, a ‘disaster’ and other public health officials ‘idiots’,” the campaign said.
Mr Biden was in Delaware for several days of preparation ahead of tomorrow’s final presidential debate.
Meanwhile, the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced that Mr Trump and Mr Biden will each have his microphone cut off in tomorrow’s debate while his rival delivers his opening two-minute answer to each of the six debate topics.