Political News

Fauci Says Trump’s Infection Was No Surprise. Trump Called Him a ‘Disaster.’

Posted October 19, 2020 3:11 p.m. EDT

It was “absolutely” no surprise that President Donald Trump got sick with the coronavirus, given his lax attitude toward social distancing guidance, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease doctor.

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation: crowded, no separation between people and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Fauci said in an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes,” which was broadcast Sunday evening. He was referring to an event at the White House in September to announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.

“When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh, my goodness, nothing good can come out of that — that’s got to a be a problem,’ ” Fauci said. “Sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”

Numerous people who attended the event later tested positive for the coronavirus, including the president, his wife, his press secretary, two senators and the president of the University of Notre Dame.

Fauci, who has often been at odds with the president, sharpened his stance against an ad run by Trump’s reelection campaign that appeared to show the doctor praising the president’s handling of the coronavirus. Fauci said his words were taken out of context and that their use in the ad was inappropriate because he never endorses candidates.

When he saw the ad, he said, steam came out of his ears.

“I got really ticked off,” he said.

Trump attacked Fauci on Monday in a conference call with campaign aides, calling the doctor a “disaster” and saying, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.

“People are tired of COVID,” Trump also said.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Fauci pushed back against criticism that he had flip-flopped over whether the general public should wear masks, saying that changing course after examining further data shows honesty.

He said he planned to cast his ballot in person and that he would take a coronavirus vaccine if it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, whose vetting process he trusts.

The National Academy of Medicine honored Fauci on Monday with the academy’s first Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership, citing his “distinguished service as a trusted adviser to six U.S. presidents during public health crises” and “steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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