Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, speaking at an event Monday, said he would hire Dr. Anthony Fauci after President Donald Trump suggested he may terminate the employment of the longtime National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief.
On Sunday evening, Trump reacted to a crowd’s chants of “fire Fauci” in Florida. “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait till a little after the election,” Trump said in response. “I appreciate the advice.”
The president then qualified his remarks in saying, “No, he’s been wrong on a lot. He’s a nice man, though.” Fauci has not been fired from his job.
Biden attempted to seize on the president’s comments during an event in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday—the day before Election Day.
“Last night, Trump said he was going to fire Dr. Fauci,” he said. “I’ve got a better idea: Elect me, and I’m gonna hire Dr. Fauci,” Biden said. “And we’re gonna fire Donald Trump.”
Over the past several months, Trump and his supporters have become increasingly critical of Fauci due to his grim CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus predictions while pushing back the date for when the country can return to normalcy in interviews. Fauci, in an interview with the Washington Post, recently said the United States is “in for a whole lot of hurt” and is “not [in] a good situation,” referring to rising CCP virus cases, while warning that the virus could spread even further in the fall or winter months.
In the same interview, Fauci, who has been the head of NIAID since 1984, appeared to praise Biden’s campaign. Biden and his team “[are] taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” adding that Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective” by focusing on “the economy and reopening the country.”
A White House spokesman on Sunday said Fauci’s comments to the Washington Post are “unacceptable” and are “breaking with all norms.”
“Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told news outlets in a statement. “As a member of the Task Force, Dr. Fauci has a duty to express concerns or push for a change in strategy, but he’s not done that.”
Deere, meanwhile, said that Fauci should push for changes internally in his agency, although he instead chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent—exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp.”
Trump has been publicly critical of Fauci in recent months, although he’s also said that he gets along well with Fauci.