After President Donald Trump characterized him as an “alarmist,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said he fancies himself more as a realist.
Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases responded to Trump’s comments on Sunday characterizing him as “a little bit of an alarmist.”
“Well, I mean people have their opinion about my reaction to things. I consider myself more a realist than an alarmist,” Fauci said, as reported by CNN. “But, you know, people do have their opinions other than that. I’ve always thought of myself as a realist when it comes to this.”
Speaking with Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday,” Trump said that he maintains a positive relationship with Fauci despite his past “mistakes.”
“Dr. Fauci’s made some mistakes, but I have a very good — I spoke to him yesterday at length — I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci,” Trump said. “He’s a little bit of an alarmist — that’s okay.”
Trump’s comments about Fauci followed White House senior trade adviser Peter Navarro publicly bashing the doctor in an op-ed for USA Today, arguing that he has been “wrong about everything” he’s personally interacted with him about.
Though Trump said he has a “very good” relationship with Fauci, the disease expert was not invited to speak at the White House COVID-19 task force press conference on Tuesday.
“I was not invited,” Fauci told Tapper. “Up to this point, I’m assuming I’m not going to be there.”
When it comes to reopening schools in the fall, Fauci said he has neither spoken with Trump nor Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. He did, however, tell Tapper that America should do whatever it can to get children back to school.
“In general, when I think about that, I want to take a 40,000-foot look and say, as a fundamental principle, I do agree that we should try as best as we possibly can to get the children back to school,” Fauci said. “Because of the well-documented, you know, secondary downstream ripple effects that are negative on parents and on the children when you keep them out of school.”
Though Fauci and Trump may have a visibly rocky relationship, the doctor has not lost his good graces with the mainstream media, between his InStyle magazine spread and his invitation to throw the first pitch at the opening game for the Washington Nationals on Thursday. In a lengthy interview with InStyle, Fauci described his relationship with Trump as “complicated.”
“Because in some respects I have a very good relationship with him,” he said. “During the times that I was seeing him a fair amount, it was quite a collegial relationship. And in many respects, it probably still is, but I don’t see him very much anymore.”
“Sometimes you say things that are not widely accepted in the White House, and that’s just a fact of life,” Fauci added.
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