Donald Trump calls Dr. Fauci ‘an idiot’ and a ‘disaster’ and says ‘people are tired of COVID’ during leaked call to campaign staff – and says he will do five rallies a day in days before election
President Donald Trump disparaged infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on a call with campaign staff, tearing into experts as ‘idiots’ and saying Americans are ‘tired of COVID.’
In an election upended by the coronavirus, the president vented about lockdowns and Fauci in particular, after the expert has expressed increasing frustration with the lack of direction on social distancing and mask wearing that Fauci says could save thousands of lives.
‘People are tired of Covid,’ Trump said.
‘People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong,’ he said, going further than in public comments where he has undermined current health directives by pointing to indecision from experts early in the pandemic.
Trump called Fauci a ‘disaster,’ but revealed he believes he cannot fire him.
‘Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster,’ Trump vented.
‘Fauci is a nice guy,’ Trump said of the career civil servant, who has spent months cautioning Americans about avoiding large gatherings and indoor spaces through TV appearances. But complained: ‘He’s been here for 500 years.
‘If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,’ Trump said.
‘People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone,’ said the president, in the midst of a cross-country campaign tour that has featured a series of large rallies where attendees are not socially distanced and many eschew masks.
His attacks come amid dangerous trends for infections, deaths, and test positivity rates. The U.S. has been logging more than 50,000 infections a day, with numbers approaching mid-summer highs.
A host of reporters were on the call – a matter that Trump appeared to anticipate and brush off.
‘If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less,’ he said.
The New York Times and CNN were among those listening.
Trump says he will hold as many as five rallies a day in the home stretch of the election, where polls show him trailing Joe Biden but Trump said he now views himself as likely to win.
”Don’t feel sorry for me, don’t say, ‘How the hell does he do it?” Trump said.