Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a radio interview on Monday downplayed critical remarks against him made by President Donald Trump, who said “people are tired of hearing Fauci” and called him a “disaster.”
Fauci told California radio station KNX1070 that Trump’s comments were a “distraction,” and said he didn’t take them personally.
“It’s like in ‘The Godfather’: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country,” Fauci told the station.
Trump, in a series of tweets Monday, poked fun at Fauci, saying “he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope” and that “Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!” But Trump also included serious criticism, saying, “All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said ‘no masks & let China in.'”
Fauci in early March said there was no need for Americans to wear masks, though he later changed his view and has become a strong advocate of mask-wearing. As regards the China travel ban, Fauci said in January that such restrictions were “not a good idea at this time,” although by Jan. 31, when they were announced, he spoke supportively about them at a press briefing and later called them “good public health measures” that would lead to a “dampening down” of infections in the United States.
Fauci, in the radio interview, said he didn’t want to play up the “me against the President” controversy and instead focus on public health measures that can help the country recover from the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“The important things are being able to open the economy, get people back to work but doing it in the context and the setting of prudent and careful health measures. That’s the message I keep drilling at and I hope it gets through more and more because I’m not talking about shutting down the country but using public health measures as a vehicle, a gateway, a roadway,” he said.
Echoing his opposition to a nationwide shutdown, Fauci said in an interview with CBS’s “60 minutes” on Sunday that things would have to get “really, really bad” before he would advocate a move like that and said public health measures were a way to avoid lockdowns.
“First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we want to use public health measures not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy,” Fauci said. “So instead of having an opposition—open up the economy, get jobs back, or shut down—no. Put ‘shut down’ away and say, ‘We’re gonna use public health measures to help us safely get to where we wanna go,'” he added.
Fauci also told KNX1070 that the country was seeing “an uptick in cases” and warned that, if people don’t take precautions, things could get worse.
“We are headed, if things don’t turn around and change, as we get into the cool months of the fall and cold months of the winter, we may be headed into some serious issues and we really want to avoid that,” Fauci said.
So far, the CCP virus has infected over 8.5 million Americans and claimed the lives of over 225,000, Worldometers data shows. Over 5.5 million people have recovered.