Dr Anthony Fauci at a White House briefing with Donald Trump earlier this year. [Source: A]
Fauci has openly complained about being cited in a Trump re-election campaign advertisement.
He said in an interview broadcast on Sunday night by CBS’ 60 Minutes that he was not surprised Trump himself contracted the virus.
“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” Trump said on a call with campaign workers which the campaign allowed reporters to join.
Speaking from his signature hotel in Las Vegas ahead of two rallies in Arizona, Trump said Americans were fed up with pandemic restrictions.
“People are saying, ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” said Trump, whose rallies include many supporters not wearing masks and standing shoulder to shoulder at odds with the guidance of Fauci and other public health experts.
“Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years,” Trump added.
Fauci, 79, is one of the most respected scientists in the US and has served under Republican and Democratic presidents. He has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
Trump suggested he had avoided firing Fauci because of the negative blowback he would receive.