After Dr. Anthony Fauci took the gloves off and admitted to being “really ticked off” at Trump, the president is responding by trashing the veteran immunologist. Tensions between the president and the NIAID director have obviously been running high all year, and things grew especially ugly a week ago when Trump took a nasty swing at Fauci’s competence. This happened after Fauci publicly requested that Trump remove a campaign ad that quotes him out of context — to make it look like Fauci praised Trump’s (botching of his) pandemic response.
That ad’s still running in certain swing states, so Fauci (who has been sidelined from public appearances by Trump) appeared on 60 Minutes, where he revealed to Jon LaPook that he’s had enough of Trump’s COVID shenanigans. Well, Trump wasn’t pleased. During a Monday morning campaign call obtained by CNN, Trump expressed his desire to fire the NIAID director (which he cannot actually do, at least directly) and complained that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.”
Trump continued with his rant while piling on baseless claims about the coronavirus pandemic. The president also declared that he didn’t care if the press heard his tirade:
“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” he said on the campaign call on Monday, before later saying it would be 700,000 or 800,000.
“If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less,” Trump said. CNN was given access to the call by a source.
Strangely, Trump also remarked that he thinks Fauci is “a nice guy… he’s been here for 500 years.” Make no mistake, though, Trump is angry about the 60 Minutes appearance. “Dr.Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television,” Trump tweeted. “[A]nd yet I saw him last night on @60Minutes.” He made a Bob Hope reference for unknown reasons.
Dr.Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television, and yet I saw him last night on @60Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope. All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said “no masks & let China in”. Also, Bad arm!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020
Yes, he’s mentioning that baseball pitch again. Previously, Trump took a swing at Fauci’s baseball arm while attacking his competence adding several made-up claims about how “Trump was right” about COVID.
Actually, Tony’s pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications. “No problem, no masks”. WHO no longer likes Lockdowns – just came out against. Trump was right. We saved 2,000,000 USA lives!!! https://t.co/YyLyCsbZ7a
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2020
For his part, Fauci stressed on 60 Minutes that he’d never publicly endorse a political candidate. He was angered that “they’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad. Which I thought was outrageous.” Further, the Trump campaign has refused to remove Fauci’s out-of-context words from the ad, and now, Trump’s further dragging him for daring to speak in public again As Fauci told LaPook of the twisting of his words by the Trump campaign, it’s “stunning.”