Dr. Anthony Fauci said he plans to “keep pushing” to continue working with President Trump on his coronavirus task force — despite recent disagreements between the two on specific solutions to the pandemic.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked in an interview with Science Magazine how he had managed to stay in Trump’s good graces and work through their disagreements.
“Well, that’s pretty interesting because to his [Trump’s] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens,” Fauci said, “He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”
Fauci has become a familiar face at daily White House press briefings on COVID-19, and at times has had to hold his tongue on practices he’s disagreed with such as holding the briefing in person instead of via satellite and seeing Trump shake hands with people in the Rose Garden.
“Yes, I say that [the things I disagree with] to the task force. I say that to the staff. We should not be doing that. Not only that—we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences. To his credit, the vice president [Mike Pence] is really pushing for physical separation of the task force [during meetings].
“The situation on stage [for the press briefings] is a bit more problematic. I keep saying, is there any way we can get a virtual press conference. Thus far, no. But when you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens. So I’m going to keep pushing,” Fauci continued.
Fauci said he makes sure to let the commander in chief or his team knows the facts if he disagrees with something Trump has said or promoted, for future reference.
“After he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus 3 to 4 months earlier], I told the appropriate people…The next time they sit down with him and talk about what he’s going to say, they will say, ‘By the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and don’t say that.’ But I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let’s try and get it corrected for the next time.”
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