Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on Tuesday slammed attempts by some in the media to create a rift between him and US President Donald Trump, saying that he “wish[ed] that would stop”.
Fauci’s remarks came during an interview on the radio show ‘Mornings on the Mall’ in response to a question about numerous stories in the media that suggest tension between him and Trump.
“I wanted to ask you about something that I've seen transpiring over the past couple of days, especially as it relates to you. It seems like increasingly a bunch of the questions from the media are designed to create a rift between you and the president of the United States. Or at least to sort of emphasize differences of opinion in a way that creates distance between you and the president. Are you sensing that, as the media continuously asks you questions about the differences you have with him?” co-host Vince Coglianese asked Fauci.
One of the most popular stories highlighted in the media about the differences between the health official and the president was over Trump’s notorious recommendation of an anti-malaria drug as treatment for the coronavirus during a White House briefing and Fauci’s quick caution that the medicine - ordinarily used to treat malaria - had not gone through a clinical trial.
LISTEN: Dr Fauci tells WMAL radio in DC the attempt to sow division between him and the President "is unfortunate. I wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. There really fundamentally at the core are not differences." pic.twitter.com/knHW1U958W— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) March 24, 2020
“That is really unfortunate,” Fauci responded. “I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. They're really fundamentally at the core when you look at things, they are not differences”.
“The president has listened to what I've said and to what the other people who are on the task force have said. When I've made recommendations, he has taken them. He has never countered, overwritten me. The idea of just pitting one against the other is not helpful. I wish that would stop and that we'd look ahead at the challenge we have to get over this thing”.
The US is the third-largest coronavirus hotbed in the world after China and Italy, with 54,893 infections and at least 783 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracking website.