President Donald Trump criticized his best infectious disease advisor this week, while Dr. Anthony Fauci separately admitted that he hadn't informed the president of the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months – which widens an apparently growing gap between the two.
"Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he made a lot of mistakes," Trump said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday. "You were wrong about a lot of things, including face masks. Maybe they're wrong, maybe not. Many of them said don't wear a mask, don't wear a mask. Now they say wear a mask. Many mistakes have been made, many Error. "
It is not the first time that Trump has contradicted or criticized the advice of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Earlier this week Trump said he disagreed with Fauci's characterization of the outbreak.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned lawmakers at a Senate hearing last week that cases could exceed 100,000 new infections a day if the virus continues to spread at its current pace.
"I'm very concerned and not happy with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction when you look at the curves of the new cases. So we really have to do something about it and we have to do it." Do it quickly, "he told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions.
Fauci reiterated his concern in an interview on Facebook Live on Tuesday. "We're still knee-deep in the first wave of Covid 19 infections," he said.
When asked later later on Tuesday about Fauci's assessment of the pandemic, Trump replied, "I disagree with him."
"I think we are in a good place," the president said in an interview with the "Full Court Press" show. "We did a good job. I think we'll be in two, three, four weeks … I think we'll be in very good shape."
Fauci told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that states with fast-growing coronavirus outbreaks should seriously consider "shutting down" as the country did when the virus first appeared in the United States in March. Trump and Pence, however, have vowed to open America further, and have spent most of the week putting pressure on heads of state to reopen schools in the fall.
Fauci, who has become the leading voice in the nation's response to the Covid-19 outbreak, has repeatedly warned of the escalating dilemma that the US is facing as new cases occur in states such as Florida, Texas, California, and New York Arizona continues to have the highest records and peak infection rates.
But his voice may not be as loud as it used to be in the White House, where he advised six presidents over the course of his career. In an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday, he admitted that he had not seen Trump in the White House since early June and had not informed him about the pandemic in at least two months.
Fauci added that he was "sure" that his messages would be forwarded to the president. A White House spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Fauci and Trump also broke up in the coronavirus pandemic at the start of the U.S. outbreak. In April, Fauci told CNN that "obviously" more lives could have been saved if the US had previously made efforts to curb the virus. He later retracted these comments after Trump retweeted a call to "#FireFauci".
"I was asked a hypothetical question" whether life could have been saved if mitigation measures had been put in place earlier, "and hypothetical questions can sometimes get you into trouble," said Fauci at the time.
However, some recent surveys indicate that the nation does not agree to Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic as cases continue to increase in the American West and South. A CNBC / Change Research poll released on July 1 shows that voters in six major swing countries have not viewed the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic positively.
When asked about two people or groups who were most responsible for the recent increase in hospitalization, 35% said the president – the largest proportion of responses. Trump was followed by 34% "people without a mask", 32% "states that reopen their economies too early" and 29% "people without social distancing".
The results were reflected in new data from a weekly NBC News / SurveyMonkey poll on Tuesday, which found that Americans have significantly more confidence in their governors than in the presidents when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus.
– Kevin Breuninger, Christina Wilkie, Will Feuer and Jacob Pramuk from CNBC contributed to this report.