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Trump to Campaign Staff, 'People Are Tired of Hearing from Fauci and These Idiots'

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Trump to Campaign Staff, 'People Are Tired of Hearing from Fauci and These Idiots'

2020-10-19 18:35:04

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump, Anthony Fauci (Image source: Screenshot)

Things have changed much between Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease specialist and a member of Trump's coronavirus task force he formed early on in the pandemic. The relationship between them went from Fauci correcting Trump's misstatements about the health crisis, to the president's campaign manipulating the doctor's statement to make it appear as if he supports Trump's pandemic response, to Trump referring to him as a "disaster."

Fauci knows exactly who he is dealing with at this point, and he's not having it. Once his statement was manipulated, he publicly called Trump out, leaving his campaign to defend its use of the doctor's words.

On Monday, with experts warning that the country is headed toward another peak in the pandemic, Trump spoke with campaign staff on a call with reporters allowed to listen in.

"People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong," said the president in the call. Bill Stepien, his campaign manager, had started the call discussing the Republican plans for the election and said he supported Trump's path to victory.

In truth, Trump also called Fauci a "nice" guy, yet he also said, "He's been here for 500 years." He followed this by saying, "Every time he goes on television, there's always a bomb, but there's a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy's a disaster."

The United States has seen more cases of COVID-19 and more deaths caused by the virus than any other country. There have been nearly 220,000 deaths. Advisers have told Trump to not attack Fauci, who is popular with the public.

On Sunday, Fauci was interviewed on "60 Minutes" and was not supportive of Trump's claim that the pandemic would soon be over. He also said he wasn't surprised that Trump caught the virus because he has been lax in taking precautions at White House events. This was particularly true at the event with Amy Coney Barrett being introduced to Republican lawmakers.

"I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask," said Fauci on Sunday's show.

"When I saw that on TV, I said, 'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come out of that, that's got to be a problem.' And then, sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event."

60 Minutes mentioned in the episode that the Trump administration has restricted the doctor's media appearances. Trump followed this by tweeting that Fauci "seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great Bob Hope."

"All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions," Trump added. He then slammed him for "perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of baseball!" after he had thrown out the first pitch for a Washington Nationals game back in July.

Trump made a couple of appearances in Arizona, and after he left Air Force One, he referred to Fauci as "a very nice man," then launched an accusation that he "loves being on television." He also said Fauci made "a lot of bad calls." When he was asked why he didn't fire him, he responded, "He's been there for about 350 years. I don't want to hurt him."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who is retiring at the end of this year, defended Fauci after the president's attacks on him.

"Dr. Fauci is one of our country's most distinguished public servants," said the senator. "He has served six presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan. If more Americans paid attention to his advice, we'd have fewer cases of COVID-19, and it would be safer to go back to school and back to work and out to eat." 

Alexander isn't alone. Late last month, a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 68 percent of Americans trusted Fauci to provide reliable information about COVID-19 a great deal or a fair amount, while only 40 percent reported trusting Trump.

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