Calling Fauci and other health officials “idiots”, Trump declared the country ready to break away from the health disaster, even as cases rise again and medical experts warn that the worst may still be ahead.
Trump made unfounded claims if Fauci were in command that more than half a million people in the United States would be dead, portraying his own administration’s recommendations to contain the spread of the disease as a pesky nuisance.
“People are fed up with Covid. I have these big rallies,” said Trump and called campaign staff from his hotel of the same name in Las Vegas, where he spent two nights in the middle of a western campaign swing. “People say whatever. Just leave us alone. They are fed up with it. People are fed up with hearing Fauci and all these idiots.”
“Fauci is a nice guy,” Trump continued. “He’s been here for 500 years.”
Fauci has been director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House since 1984. Almost at the same time Trump was raging on the phone, Fauci was awarded the National Academy of Medicine’s first presidential quote for exemplary leadership during a virtual ceremony. Fauci said he was “speechless” when he received the recognition.
“We have many challenges ahead of us and I can’t help thinking that we are really going through a time that is worryingly versus science in certain areas of our society,” Fauci said during the virtual event.
Trump openly criticized Fauci as his campaign is currently airing a television commercial featuring the doctor implying that Fauci endorses Trump’s handling of the pandemic.
Fauci has denied the ad, saying his words were taken out of context and asked the campaign to remove them. However, the ad was widely viewed by the president’s campaign staff as confirmation that Fauci is credible with voters who rejected Trump’s response.
As he storms campaign fields, Trump has been looking for a closing message that will resonate with voters who are confused by the virus and aware of its reaction. Attempts by his advisors to convince Trump to adopt a more serious tone regarding the pandemic have been halted. At a rally in Nevada on Sunday, Trump attempted to attack Biden by saying his rival would “listen to the scientists” if he were elected president.
In contrast, Trump has stopped attending meetings of his coronavirus task force, the influence of which has dramatically decreased. Instead, the President has taken the advice of Dr. Scott leaving Atlas, a radiologist whose views on mask wearing and other mitigation practices contradict almost every scientific opinion.
The dynamic has sparked tension among government health officials, including with Fauci, whose warnings of the Trump virus have been inundated for months.
“Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we would have 500,000 deaths,” he said during the election campaign on Monday, before later saying it would be 700,000 or 800,000.
“If there’s a reporter, you can have it like I said, I don’t care,” Trump said. CNN obtained access to the call from a source.
Trump’s attempt to shore up his campaign workers 15 days before election day came amid widespread Republican concerns that his inability to improve a final message was dire not only for his own race but also for US Senate control Will have an impact.
Even when his anger became evident on the call, Trump tried to project optimism.
“This is the best single I have ever seen in a campaign,” said Trump of his re-election chances. “Today is the best day I’ve seen in both campaigns.”
“We’ll win,” he said, “I wouldn’t have said that three weeks ago.”
After stories of early pointing campaigns of potential loss surfaced, Trump insisted he was happy with the work of his team – including his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was internally accused of mismanaging Trump’s Covid diagnosis and subsequent abuse of hospitalization .
“I love Mark Meadows. It took me two years to get him out of Congress. Mark Meadows is doing a good job. I’m not firing him.”