Coronavirus: Fauci says Trump has to be told 'things 1,2,3,4 times' before it's done, promises to keep pushing
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the driving force of US Coronavirus Task Force, said on Sunday that he has to tell President Donald Trump facts many times to get his point across to him. The expert, however, added that he will "keep pushing" to correct any inaccuracies about the deadly virus being relayed by the White House, reports state.
Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with Science, said that "when you're dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things 1,2,3,4 times, and then it happens. So I'm going to keep pushing."
The top immunologist added that he tries to correct Trump, however, he "cannot jump in front of the microphone and push him down."
Dr. Fauci also frowned on the president for publicly shaking hands with people despite experts across the world urging people to not make physical contact amid the outbreak.
"I say that to the task force. I say that to the staff. We should not be doing that," Dr. Fauci said of Trump's penchant for shaking the hand of everyone around. "Not only that - we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences."
The expert said that he was pushing for the White House to adopt virtual press conferences in light of the rapid increase in coronavirus cases to avoid briefings crowded with experts, politicians, and journalists. The White House press conferences have been contradicting official advice to not gather in groups of more than ten people.
While talking about Trump's reference to Covid-19 as the "Chinese virus," Dr. Fauci said that he would never call the virus that. Trump has received widespread backlash for calling the novel cornavirus "China virus" with many condemning it as racist.
The immunologist's absence from Sunday's White House press briefing on the coronavirus, combined with his latest string of rebukes against Trump, has sparked speculations of tensions between the two.
Trump, over the weekend, had slammed China, saying that the country should have warned the United States two or three months before they publicly announced the spread of coronavirus in the area.
Dr. Fauci addressed the accusation against China, saying: "The way it happened is that after he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus three to four months earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesn't comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September." The virus was only detected in late December, according to reports.
"The next time they sit down with him and talk about what he’s going to say, they will say, by the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and don't say that," Dr. Fauci said of Trump. "But I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time."
The respected immunologist's comments came a day after he had admitted that he has been "walking a fine line" by contradicting Trump publicly. Dr. Fauci was forced to publicly row back Trump's claims that anti-malarial drug chloroquine offered a potential cure for coronavirus.
"I don't want to act like a tough guy like I stood up to the president," he told the New York Times. "I just want to get the facts out. And instead of saying, 'You're wrong,' all you need to do is continually talk about what the data are and what the evidence is. I say it the way it is, and if he's gonna get pissed off, he's gonna get pissed off. Thankfully, he is not. Interestingly."
The coronavirus pandemic has taken over 400 lives and has infected over 35,000 people in the US within days, with most cases being reported in New York. The deadly viral infection has claimed over 14,000 lives across the world, with a total infection of over 340,000 cases and increasing.