WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump called coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci a ‘disaster’ on Monday, airing his frustration with the scientist during a call meant to reassure campaign staff he has a path to victory on Nov.3 despite trailing in opinion polls.
Trump and Fauci a member of his coronavirus task force, have been at odds over how best to handle a pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 people in the United States and weakened the Republican president’s case for re-election.
Fauci, 79, who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents and is one of the most admired scientists in the United States, has urged that COVID-19 continue to be taken seriously. Trump has suggested the worst has passed.
‘Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths’, Trump said during the call, which the campaign allowed reporters to join.
Fauci has openly complained about being cited in a Trump re-election campaign advertisement that discussed the administration’s pandemic response, and said in an interview broadcast on Sunday night by CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ that he was not surprised Trump himself contracted the virus.
Trump, speaking from his signature hotel in Las Vegas ahead of two rallies in Arizona, said Fauci bombed during TV interviews but that it would be ‘a bigger bomb if you fire him’.
Fauci’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump said Americans were fed up with pandemic restrictions.
‘People are saying: ‘Whatever. Just leave as lone’. 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.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander issued a statement calling Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984’, ‘one of our country’s most distinguished public servant’.
‘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 said.
Trump’s conference call was intended to buck up his national team of campaign workers amid a spate of stories suggesting a campaign in turmoil.
With 15 days until Election Day, Democrat Joe Biden holds a lead in national opinion polls and in many battleground states where the election is likely to be decided.
‘We have momentum at the exact time that we want momentum’, campaign manager Bill Stepien said on the call.
Trump called news stories about internal strife ‘bullshit’ and said he felt he was in a better position now than four years ago when he scored an improbable victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
‘This is the best I’ve ever felt’, he said.
Biden campaign manager Hen O’Malley Dillon said over the weekend that national poll figures were misleading because must-win states were close.
‘Every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire’, she wrote in a memo to donors.
Paris / France – – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Thursday to keep working closely together until a new German government is formed after the Sept. 26 polls in which Merkel is not a candidate. In 16 years in power, Merkel has known four French presidents and has built … More Macron, Merkel Vow To Cooperate Closely Until New German Government Is Formed￼
Dubai / UAE – – The Saudi – led coalition said late on Thursday that it thwarted and destroyed four Houthi explosives – laden drones and a ballistic rocket fired in the direction of the southern Saudi city of Jazan, Saudi state media reported. The Saudi – led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, … More Saudi – Led Coalition Thwarts Houthi Missile And Drones Attack – Media
Paris / France — French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that French military forces had killed Islamic Adnan Abu Walid al – Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. ‘It’s another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel’, Macron said in a tweet, without disclosing the location of … More Macron Says French French Forces Killed Islamic State Leader In Sahara￼