Fauci claims public disagreements with Trump would lead former president to do 'terrible things'
At the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci was tapped to be a member of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force and he appeared to be a viable asset to former President Donald Trump. However, things went awry when Trump refused to allow the nation's top infectious disease expert to effectively do his job.
Now, Fauci is shedding light on the political discourse he faced while working inside Trump's dysfunctional administration. During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Fauci admitted that he initially had some influence on the former president's handling of the pandemic but things changed when Trump began to "essentially act like there was no outbreak."
According to political activist Peter Staley, Trump reached a dramatic turning point at the end of April leading into early May when his supporters began to push back against the coronavirus lockdowns, reports Business Insider. Instead of focusing on maintaining mitigation efforts, Trump began to side with protesters as he pressured governors and state leaders to reopen the economy.
Fauci admitted that he, too, agrees with Staley's assessment. He said, "My influence with [the president] diminished when he decided to essentially act like there was no outbreak and focus on re-election and opening the economy… That's when he said, "It's going to go away, it's magical, don't worry about it.'"
After that point, Fauci said, "My direct influence on him was negligible. It became more conflictual than productive." Fauci's latest interview comes months after his tug-of-war with Trump. As cases skyrocketed during the summer months, Fauci and former Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx slowly disappeared from mainstream media.
During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Fauci admitted that Trump officials "blocked" him from appearing on her show. "I've been wanting to come on your show for months and months,' Fauci told Maddow. "You've been asking me to come on your show for months and months."
He added, "'And it's just gotten blocked. Let's call it what it is. It just got blocked because they didn't like the way you handle things and they didn't want me on."
Although Trump repeatedly defended his administration's handling of the virus, political analysts' assessments of the 2020 presidential election determined that his poor handling of the pandemic greatly contributed to his election defeat. As of Friday, Feb. 19, the United States has reported more than 28.5 million coronavirus cases. The country's death toll has now surpassed 500,000.
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