President Donald Trump suggested during a late night rally in Florida on Sunday that he may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci.
During the Miami rally that appeared to continue until around 1 a.m. Monday morning, Trump ripped on network media, accusing pundits and reporters of using the pandemic as a political issue and predicting coronavirus would become less of a discussion topic the day after the election.
“You turn on the news, ‘COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. We’d like to talk about COVID,’ and then next story. Here’s what happens Nov. 4 – you won’t hear too much about it. You won’t hear too much about it,” Trump said.
Trump’s talk of the coronavirus led some in the audience to call for him to fire Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci, apparently an unpopular man among Trump supporters at the president’s Miami rally, was a major influence on the president’s early approach to the coronavirus, and the doctor has continued to advocate for restrictive measures to slow the spread of the virus.
A man in the crowd can be heard yelling “Fire Fauci!” Many more soon take up the call and Trump is surrounded by chants of “Fire Fauci, fire Fauci.”
“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice. I appreciate it. Nah, he’s been wrong on a lot. He’s a nice man, though. He’s been wrong on a lot,” Trump said.
TRUMP: You turn on the news, ‘Covid, covid, covid, covid.’
CROWD: Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!
TRUMP: Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait til a little bit after the election. pic.twitter.com/qOT0OZnJUE
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) November 2, 2020
Fauci has said that some restrictions on social distancing and some mask requirements may be necessary into 2022, far after a vaccine is expected to be available to the public. Fauci issued the warning while speaking to Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University via Zoom in October.
“It’s not going to be the way it was with polio and measles, where you get a vaccine, case closed, it’s done,” Fauci said. “It’s going to be public-health measures that linger for months and months.”
“You’re not going to have a profound degree of herd immunity for a considerable period of time, maybe toward the end of 2021, into 2022,” he continued. “I feel very strongly that we’re going to need to have some degree of public-health measures to continue. Maybe not as stringent as they are right now.”
Fauci has also said that Americans should be wary of celebrating Thanksgiving together to avoid the chance of spreading the coronavirus.
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS News last month.
“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” he said. “It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition — the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”