President Donald Trump said Monday that the administration's greatest pandemic fighter, Dr. Anthony Fauci was a "disaster" – and possibly an "idiot" – claiming that Americans are "fed up" with Covid-19, even when it comes to coronavirus numbers in much of the US, cases continued to rise .
"People are fed up with Covid," said Trump in a call to his re-election campaign staff against former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate.
"People are fed up with hearing Fauci and all these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong," Trump said on the call.
Trump also claimed that "every time [Fauci] goes on TV there is always a bomb," an obvious reference to Fauci's media appearances in which he told CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday night that he was "absolutely not" surprising was that Trump himself caught the coronavirus.
But Trump also gave an explanation for why he didn't fire Fauci as director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases despite his dissatisfaction with him.
"There's a bigger bomb when you fire it," Trump said. "This guy is a disaster."
The president called Fauci a "nice" man on another point, but on a backhand.
"He's been here for 500 years," Trump said of Fauci, who is 79 years old.
Fauci is a civil servant who, by law, cannot be dismissed directly by the president. And Fauci could appeal against any dismissal ordered by the president by the political representatives who supervised him.
After this article was first published, Trump insulted Fauci with two tweets referring to Fauci's highly flawed ceremonial "first pitch" at a Washington Nationals baseball game earlier this year.
"Dr. Tony Fauci says we don't allow him to do television and yet I saw him on @ 60Minutes last night and he seems to have more airtime than anyone since the late, great Bob Hope," wrote Trump. "All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said 'no masks and let China in'. Also, bad arm!"
"PS Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals mask for two reasons. Number one, it's not up to the high standards he should be setting. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony has perhaps the worst first place in kicked the world out of baseball history !, "wrote Trump.
Eduardo Silva, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee on War Room, said in a statement, "Trump claimed" people are sick of COVID, "and he's right – they're sick of him ignoring experts and prolonging a crisis there have been more than 219,000 Americans killed. "
"Trump has lied to the American people about the coronavirus for months, and now that cases and hospitals are once again being marginalized, he has clearly learned nothing from the pain and suffering he's already caused," said Silva. "Americans across the country are paying the price for Trump's disastrous response to the coronavirus. The more he focuses on this ruthless strategy, the more they will oppose his failed leadership."
During a campaign rally on Sunday, Trump made fun of Biden by imitating him and saying he would "listen to the scientists" about the pandemic.
"If I listened fully to the scientists, we would now have a country that is in a massive depression," Trump said at the rally in Carson City, Nevada. "We're like a rocket ship."
Trump also criticized multiple state Democratic governors for taking measures to prevent a second wave of coronavirus cases.
"Open the seats, let's go," said Trump.
Even as he spoke, new cases were increasing daily in the United States in more than half the states. As of Monday, more than 8.1 million Covid-19 cases have been reported in the US since the beginning of 2020, with at least 219,765 deaths related to the virus.
Senate Health Committee chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Said in a statement, "Dr. Fauci is one of the most distinguished officials in our country. He has served six presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan."
"If more Americans took his advice, we would have fewer cases of COVID-19 and it would be safer to go back to school and go back to work and eat," Alexander said.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates replied to Trump's claim that the country would do worse economically if Trump listened to scientists and tweeted, "Significantly, this is non-contact and the exact opposite of reality."
"Trump has crashed the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration through lies and attacks on science, and layoffs are on the rise," Bates tweeted. "In the meantime, Joe Biden would create millions more jobs than Trump."
Also on Sunday, the social media platform Twitter removed a tweet from the White House pandemic advisor, Scott Atlas, saying “Mask work? NO."
Twitter said that Atlas – who appears to be preferred by Trump as opposed to Fauci – has violated the platform's coronavirus misinformation policy, which prohibits "sharing false or misleading content that could cause harm".
Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, their son Barron and more than two dozen people connected to the White House, presidential campaign and presidential events were diagnosed with Covid-19 this month.
During his "60-minute" interview, Fauci said he wasn't surprised Trump got sick because a meeting in the White House on Sept. 26 lacked sufficient precautions against the virus to see Trump do the Federal Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett officially announced as his candidate for the Supreme Court.
"I was afraid that he would get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation where there were no people wearing a mask," said Fauci.
"When I saw that on TV, I said, 'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come of this, that must be a problem," said Fauci.
"And then it turned out to be a superspreader event."
Fauci took a look at Trump's campaign last week after being mentioned in a recent ad about Trump in an interview about the coronavirus response, "I can't imagine anyone could do more."
The Fauci interview took place in March, the month the virus spread seriously in the United States.
"In my nearly five decades in public service, I have never publicly endorsed a political candidate," Fauci told CNN in a statement.
"The comments attributed to me on the GOP campaign ad without my permission have been taken out of the context of a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal health officials."