Savannah Behrmann | USA TODAY
Trump swipes at Fauci over mask guidance
Donald Trump attacked the credibility of infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a rally in North Carolina. Trump offered a reminder that Fauci at one point said that people should not wear masks to protect against the coronavirus. (Oct. 15)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was “a democrat” while seemingly mocking him at his Thursday rally.
Speaking to a crowd at a rally in Greenville, N.C., Trump said Fauci had been inconsistent on recommendations regarding mask-wearing, stating, “And he said do not wear a mask. Do not wear a mask under any circumstances. Don’t wear a mask. Don’t. Don’t don’t, right? So we don’t wear a mask, then they say, oh, wear a mask. Did you see any conflicts?”
“But he’s a nice guy so I keep him around, right? We’ll keep him around. He’s a Democrat. Everybody knows that. He’s [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo’s friend. Cuomo did the worst job of any governor in the United States,” Trump continued.
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Fauci, a leading member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has worked under both Democratic and Republican administrations since 1984.
He has been adamant about being an apolitical figure, and his voter registration states he is affiliated with no party.
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Fauci, along with other health experts, changed their stance on the public wearing masks early in the spring after evidence showed that face coverings could prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Fauci has stated that authorities did not recommend public mask-wearing at the beginning of the outbreak over fear of shortages for health-care workers.
He has also been blunt about how the White House has handled the coronavirus pandemic. He called the Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which is believed to have caused an outbreak at the White House, a “superspreader” event and has expressed worry over Trump’s political rallies.
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In recent days, he has also expressed frustration at the Trump campaign for airing a political ad featuring him without his permission and out of context. He said Tuesday that the ad should be taken down.
He also reiterated in a recent interview on CNN that he remains uninvolved in politics and has never endorsed a candidate.
“By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,” Fauci told the Daily Beast of the Trump campaign’s ad. “Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off.”
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Fauci has continued to push for social distancing and mask-wearing as cases in the United States skyrocket, while Trump, even after being briefly hospitalized with the coronavirus a few weeks ago, expresses grievances with the guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control, and continues to host large rallies.
Despite the public back and forth between himself and Trump, Fauci told the Beast that “Not in my wildest freakin’ dreams did I ever think about quitting.”