President Donald Trump slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Monday for claiming that he was being restricted from doing media interviews.
The president made the remarks in a series of tweets after he reportedly called Fauci an “idiot” on a phone call with his campaign earlier in the day.
“Dr. Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television, and yet I saw him last night on @60Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope,” Trump tweeted. “All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said ‘no masks & let China in’. Also, Bad arm!”
“P.S. Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals’ Mask for two reasons,” Trump continued. “Number one, it is not up to the high standards that he should be exposing. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!”
…P.S. Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals’ Mask for two reasons. Number one, it is not up to the high standards that he should be exposing. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2020
The president’s remarks came after Fauci had the following interaction on CBS News’s “60 Minutes”:
Dr. Jon LaPook: During this pandemic, has the White House been controlling when you can speak with the media?
Dr. Anthony Fauci: You know, I think you’d have to be honest and say yes. I certainly have not been allowed to go on many, many, many shows that have asked for me.
Dr. Jon LaPook: One of the most trusted voices in America, and yet, you’re not there, you’re not allowed to talk with us. So, can you understand the frustration that maybe there’s been a restriction on the flow of information and on the transparency–
Dr. Anthony Fauci: You know, I think there has been a restriction, Jon, but– but it doesn’t, it– it– it isn’t consistent.
Earlier this year, Fauci dismissed the notion that he was being muzzled by the administration, saying, “I have never been muzzled ever and I’ve been doing this since the administration of Ronald Reagan, I’m not being muzzled by this administration.”
Fauci recently complained that the Trump campaign had used previous remarks that he made in a digital ad, claiming that they were “harassing” him.
“By doing this against my will they are, in effect, harassing me,” Fauci said. “Since campaign ads are about getting votes, their harassment of me might have the opposite effect of turning some voters off.”
“The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials,” Fauci claimed.
Last week, Trump said that Fauci was a “Democrat” during a campaign rally in North Carolina, saying, “Then you have my friend, and he’s a nice guy, Tony – Tony Fauci. He’s a nice guy, so I keep him around. Right? We’ll keep him around. But he’s a Democrat, everybody knows that. He’s Cuomo’s friend.”