On Monday, President Donald Trump made a series of remarks during a phone call with his campaign staff about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, as well as his administration’s public health officials.

“People are tired of COVID. People are saying, ‘Whatever, just leave us alone.’ People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” said Trump. “He’s been here for, like, 500 years. He’s like this wonderful sage telling us how. Fauci, if we listened to him, we’d have 700,000 [or] 800,000 deaths,” he continued, claiming that if everyone took Fauci’s advice the United States death count, currently over 200,000, could have quadrupled.

“Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” Trump added.

Trump showed little concern with how the public would receive these comments, as the press was on the call as well. He shared with reporters that they could quote him “just the way I said it. I couldn’t care less.”


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Trump’s call followed after CBS’ 60 Minutes featured Fauci on Sunday. In the interview, Fauci made several comments about Trump’s response to COVID-19. He stated that Trump “equates wearing a mask with weakness,” and claims that that is the reason Trump often decides to forego wearing a mask in public, despite his recent hospitalization for the virus. He believes that Trump’s avoidance of wearing a mask is “less an anti-science [position] than it’s more a statement.”

However, Fauci believes that “deep down, [Trump] believes in science… if he didn’t, he would not have entrusted his health to the very competent physicians at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.”

During Trump’s solo town hall event on Thursday, the president remarked he approved of mask-wearing but didn’t want to require it. He was presented with a University of Washington study from July that stated that nationwide mask-wearing could reduce the daily death toll by 66%, to which he responded that “other people disagree.” He brought up White House’s new health adviser, Scott Atlas, who has stated he doesn’t think mask-wearing will change much about the spread of the virus.

“Scott Atkins, if you look at Scott, Dr. Scott,” said Trump, stating the wrong name of the health adviser, “He’s from-great guy. Stanford… He disagrees with you.”

While Atlas did come from Stanford, he did not study infectious diseases like Fauci. According to reports, Atlas has been pushing the White House to embrace mass infection so the country can develop “herd immunity,” a theory which has alarmed many health experts.

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