President Donald Trump disparaged infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on a call with campaign staff Monday as a ‘disaster,’ tearing into experts as ‘idiots’ and saying Americans are ‘tired of COVID’ in comments which leaked almost instantly.
Two weeks before Election Day, with coronavirus cases spiking once again, the president unloaded on Fauci, who polls have shown to be one of the nation’s most trusted figures, blasting him for his virus warnings and even his public persona.
With the coronavirus pandemic posing an ongoing threat to his reelection, Trump predicted victory – something he said he would not have done a few weeks ago when he was hospitalized at Walter Reed medical center with the disease.
‘We’re going to win. I wouldn’t have told you that maybe two or three weeks ago,’ he said on the leaked call.
The president vented about lockdowns and Fauci in particular, after the expert has expressed increasing frustration with the lack of direction on social distancing and mask wearing that Fauci says could save thousands of lives.
He spoke out after saying on Sunday night that the U.S. would be in a ‘massive depression’ if he had listened to the scientists on coronavirus – while Dr Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes he was ‘absolutely not’ surprised Trump had fallen ill from the virus after attending the White House super-spreader event for Amy Coney Barrett and not wearing a mask.
‘People are tired of Covid,’ Trump said Monday on the conference call to top aides which was reported by CNN, CBS, Axios, Bloomberg and the New York Times.
‘People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong,’ he said, going further than in public comments where he has undermined current health directives by pointing to indecision from experts early in the pandemic.
Trump called Fauci a ‘disaster,’ but revealed he believes he cannot fire him.
‘Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster,’ Trump vented.
‘Fauci is a nice guy,’ Trump said of the career civil servant, who has spent months cautioning Americans about avoiding large gatherings and indoor spaces through TV appearances. But complained: ‘He’s been here for 500 years.
‘If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,’ Trump said.
‘People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone,’ said the president, in the midst of a cross-country campaign tour that has featured a series of large rallies where attendees are not socially distanced and many eschew masks.
Donald Trump told his supporters at a rally in Nevada on Sunday that the US would be in a ‘massive depression’ if he had listened to the scientists on coronavirus. He said that if former Vice President Biden makes it into the Oval Office: ‘He’s gonna lock down. This guy wants to lock down’
Dr Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes on Sunday that he wasn’t surprised President Trump tested positive for Covid-19 after seeing the crowds of people at the Amy Coney Barrett event at the White House last month
Trump took the attacks to an even more personal level in a pair of tweets.
‘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. All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said ‘no masks & let China in’. Also, Bad arm!’
The president was ridiculing Fauci for his botched effort to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day for the Washington Nationals as the nation sought to climb back from the pandemic.
He followed up with another tweet. ‘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!’
The leaked campaign call – on which Trump also said ‘If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less’ – marks an escalation of hostilities with Fauci.
Amid reports on the content of the call, Trump fired off a tweet to the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman with an dated reference.
‘There has never been a time in either of my two Campaigns when I felt we had a stronger chance of winning than we do right now. Early voting reports look far stronger than originally anticipated. Every RALLY is BOFFO,’ Trump wrote.
Then as he touched down in Prescott, Arizona, Trump was asked about his comments.
‘I think really Dr. Fauci’s a very nice man,’ he said.
‘But we let him do what he wants to do, he gets a lot of television – he loves being on television, we let him do it.
‘Sometimes he says things that are a little bit off, and they get build up unfortunately.
‘But he’s a nice guy. I like him. But he’s called a lot of bad calls.’
Asked why he didn’t fire him he said: ‘I don’t want to hurt him. He’s a nice guy. He’s been there about 350 years.’
Two weeks ago the Trump campaign had used a clip of Fauci in a campaign ad appearing to endorse the president – although Fauci said he had not approved it and never makes endorsements.
Trump pitted the election as a ‘Trump super-recovery’ versus a ‘Biden depression’ at a rollicking rally in Nevada on Sunday.
But at exactly the same time as he spoke, his top epidemiologist told 60 Minutes that Amy Coney Barrett’s unveiling in the White House Rose Garden was a ‘super-spreader event’.
When asked if he was surprised that Trump tested positive for Covid-19 after the Rose Garden event, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said: ‘Absolutely not’.
FAUCI SAYS HE’S GOT SECURITY AFTER DEATH THREATS
Dr Anthony Fauci says he is now accompanied by a security team when he is out in public because of the death threats he has received amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was joined by his wife Dr Christine Grady, a bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, for the 60 Minutes interview.
The couple said the threats and harassment their family has faced has been draining.
Fauci is now accompanied by federal agents when he goes out – even when he’s exercising.
‘The very fact that a public health message to save lives triggers such venom and animosity to me that it results in real and credible threats to my life and my safety. But it bothers me less than the hassling of my wife and my children,’ he said.
When asked what frustrated him the most, Fauci’s wife said: ‘The fact that, you know, the same message has to sort of be reiterated over and over again because either people don’t hear it, or they don’t believe it, or they don’t adopt it.’
Dr Anthony Fauci, above with wife Christine, says he is now accompanied by a security team (pictured behind the couple) when he is out in public because of the death threats he has received amid the Covid-19 pandemic
‘I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask.
‘When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that’s gotta be a problem’. And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.’
Fauci’s analysis comes as Trump held another campaign rally in Nevada, telling his supporters that if former Vice President Biden makes it into the Oval Office: ‘He’s gonna lock down. This guy wants to lock down.’
‘He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression, instead we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.’
Cases are currently increasing across the US and have now surpassed 8.1 million. The death toll, which has remained steady this month after declining since August, is currently at more than 219,000.
Health experts have been warning that the US is heading into its ‘darkest hour of the pandemic’ as the number of cases continue to surge to levels not seen since July. The US is currently averaging about 55,000 cases per day after rising steadily since mid-September.
Deaths, however, are not increasing and have been averaging about 700 fatalities per day for more than a month. The current death rate, which is a lagging and can potentially rise several weeks after cases increase, is well below the April peak of nearly 2,000 fatalities a day.
Nationwide hospitalizations have been increasing this month, which have been driven mostly by Midwestern states where infections have been surging.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, gave a grim prognosis on Sunday night, saying he didn’t share Trump’s optimism about the virus.
Nearly 70,000 new cases were reported nationwide on Friday, which is the highest level since July during the summer peak.
Osterholm said that figure was worrying and perhaps a sign of things to come, despite many arguing that this is a a result of increased testing capacity.
‘Friday we had 70,000 cases, matching the largest number we had seen back during the really serious peak in July. That number… we’re going to blow right through that. And between now and the holidays we will see numbers much much larger,’ Osterholm said.
‘We’re not telling the full story. We do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike, but when you look at the time period for that, the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the pandemic,’ he told NBC.
‘Vaccines will not become available in any meaningful way until early to [the] third quarter of next year. And even then, about half of the US population at this point is skeptical of even taking the vaccine.’
Osterholm blamed the skepticism on a ‘major problem in messaging.’ He argued that Americans don’t have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice to guide them through the pandemic at the moment.
‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality,’ Osterholm said.
Although the White House emerged as a solid front when it enacted the coronavirus task force back in January, the facade slowly waned as Trump ignored health experts’ guidelines and dissenting voices entered civil discourse.
Trump and Fauci have publicly bumped heads over various issues before, although his latest remarks about the ‘super-spreader’ White House event are perhaps the starkest example to date.
Fauci also admitted in his 60 Minutes interview that the White House had restricted his media appearances throughout the pandemic.
‘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.’
However, Fauci did take the same line as Trump when asked if he would recommend another full lockdown for the nation, saying: ‘Things would have to get really, really bad’ before that was suggested.
‘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.
‘Those measures were not in place last month in the rose garden when President Trump announced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.’
He went on to state that Americans have more than two choices and do not have to decide between a complete shutdown or an unmitigated reopening of the economy.
Instead, he claims, Americans should implement public health measures as they try to resume life as normal, even with the threat of the virus lingering.
‘Let’s put ‘shutdown’ away and say, ‘We’re going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go”, he said.
Masks were not widespread at Trump’s Nevada rally to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And Trump warned that Biden would be more heavy-handed in dealing with the virus, which continues to see new spikes. ‘If he comes in, Carson City will become a ghosttown,’ Trump warned. ‘The Christmas season will be cancelled’
Trump pictured waving a fist as he arrived for the raucous rally at Carson City Airport in Carson City, Nevada where attendees did not social distance
An attendee shield himself from the sun with an American flag-themed jacket during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump on Sunday in Carson City
Fauci has been advocating for public health measures, including social distancing and mask wearing, for several months.
In his 60 Minutes interview, Fauci addressed his advice from early in the pandemic when he urged Americans not to wear masks because he was concerned there would be a shortage before changing tune about a month later.
That conflicting advice was seized on by Trump during the presidential debate.
‘It became clear that cloth coverings… and not necessarily a surgical mask or an N95, cloth coverings, work. So now there’s no longer a shortage of masks. Meta-analysis studies show that, contrary to what we thought, masks really do work in preventing infection,’ Fauci said.
‘When you find out you’re wrong, it’s a manifestation of your honesty to say, ‘Hey, I was wrong. I did subsequent experiments and now it’s this way.’
Fauci has also blasted other experts who say measures like mask wearing should be put to the side so that the disease can spread in order to achieve herd immunity.
Trump’s more laissez faire approach to eradicating the pandemic clashed with Fauci, who repeatedly called for Americans to adhere to social distancing and emphasized the importance of face masks.
The pair’s most recent disagreement came over herd immunity, which was reportedly proposed to Trump by medical adviser Scott Atlas.
Several health experts have dismissed herd immunity as a viable solution, including Fauci, who called it ‘total nonsense,’ as well as ‘scientifically and ethically problematic.’
Fauci said in a GMA interview last week: ‘If you just let things rip and let the infection go – no masks, crowds – that quite frankly is ridiculous.
‘What that will do is there will be so many people in the community that you can’t shelter, that you can’t protect, who are going to get sick and get serious consequences.
‘If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases they’ll tell you it’s risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths.
‘I think we’ve got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.’
In Nevada Sunday, Trump kept the focus on Biden’s ‘corruption’ and the latest in the Hunter Biden saga, referring to the ‘laptop from hell.’
‘This is the most boring human being I’ve ever seen,’ Trump said of Biden, while also claiming he was running a ‘criminal enterprise’ alongside his son.
‘The Bidens make ‘crooked’ Hillary Clinton look like an absolute amateur,’ Trump said, using a throwback insult from his successful 2016 campaign.
Pointing a finger at Hunter, Trump said, ‘This guy’s a vacuum cleaner,’ alleging he was sucking up tons of foreign money.
‘I call him the human vacuum cleaner,’ the president said to cheers and applause from the crowd of several thousand watching the president in the hot Nevada sun.
The crowd started chanting ‘lock him up!’ referring to Biden and his son.
President Donald Trump appeared at a campaign rally Sunday afternoon in Carson City, Nevada 16 days before the presidential election where he slammed the Biden’s as ‘crooked’, his opponent Joe Biden as ‘boring’ and boasted ‘the best is yet to come’
A woman dressed up in Native American costume awaits the arrival of President Donald Trump in Carson City, Nevada Sunday
President Donald Trump’s supporters get ready for the president’s arrival in Carson City, Nevada Sunday
‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point. The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occur.
‘They’re corrupt people. But Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class,’ Trump reiterated in his fired up speech.
Trump has been having a field day over a New York Post report that is supposed to be proof that Biden was in on his son Hunter’s foreign business deals while he was serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president.
The emails were allegedly found on a laptop left at a shop with a copy of the harddrive given to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Federal authorities are now investigating whether the emails were connected to a foreign intelligence operation in a bid to sway the election.
The president called it the ‘laptop from hell.’
‘So a giant trove of emails show Hunter Biden making deals, setting up deals with his father Joe,’ Trump said at one point.
‘Joe’s getting a piece of everything,’ Trump, at another moment, alleged.
The alleged emails included one that alluded to a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharsky an adviser for the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board.
However, the Biden campaign says the meeting did not occur.
A large crowd gathered outdoors to hear US President Donald Trump speak at Carson City Airport in Carson City, Nevada
Supporters pictured cheering on Trump as he spoke during the campaign rally
Trump staffers handed out MAGA face masks to attendees at the rally, just 16 days ahead of the presidential election
A group of Trump supporters hold up a photo of a young child saying he’s a Trump fan
Twitter removed ‘misleading’ tweet from Dr. Scott Atlas
By Valerie Edwards for DailyMail.com
Twitter has removed a ‘misleading’ tweet from White House adviser Dr Scott Atlas who claimed that masks don’t work.
In the tweet shared on Saturday, Atlas wrote: ‘Masks work? No.’
Atlas, who has been on the coronavirus task force since the pandemic began in the US, then used examples of areas where he said ‘cases exploded even with mandates’.
Atlas included the following locations in the tweet: Los Angeles, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain and Israel.
Masks and facial coverings are used to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.
A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that the tweet was removed because it violated the company’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy.
Twitter said that Atlas violated the policy that prohibits users from sharing false or misleading content related to the pandemic that could lead to harm.
In recent weeks, several states have shown an increase in COVID-19 infections.
On Friday, the US reported 69,100 new cases in a single day. The number hasn’t been that high since July 29 when 71,300 cases were reported in a day.
Atlas’s remarks come just a month after NBC News reportedly overheard CDC Director Robert Redfield suggesting in a conversation with a colleague that Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data about masks and other issues.
On this three-day swing, Nevada was the only swing state that tilted toward the Democrats in 2016, with 47.9 per cent of voters in the state picking Clinton and 45.5 for Trump.
On Saturday he did back-to-back rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin. And on Monday, Trump will do another two rallies in Arizona, a state that he won in 2016, but looks ripe for the Democrats’ picking.
The president woke up Sunday at his Las Vegas hotel and attended church services at the International Church of Las Vegas before jetting off to Orange County, California for several hours to raise money for his campaign 16 days before the presidential election.
The Democrats and Biden have far outraised the Republican National Committee and Trump in August and September.
In Carson City, the president suggested the Democrats were cheating – and their fundraising was like a ‘quid pro quo,’ aiming the comment at Biden.
Trump’s impeachment revolved around whether there was a ‘quid pro quo’ when the president held up military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country’s president to announce investigations into Hunter and Joe Biden.
Upon landing in Reno, Nevada, Trump gave reporters a quick update on the on-again, off-again stimulus talks taking place back in Washington, D.C.
‘I think Nancy Pelosi maybe is coming along we’ll find out,’ Trump said. ‘Want to do it at a bigger number than she wants. That doesn’t mean all the Republicans agree with me but I think they will in the end if she would go along, I think they would too, on stimulus.’
‘So we’ll see what happens,’ Trump added.
That didn’t stop Trump from attacking the House speaker at the Carson City event, making fun of her for not wanting his ‘wall’ but living in a gating community and eating fancy ice cream.
He also suggested Pelosi’s recent talk about the 25th Amendment, which came after the president was hospitalized with the coronavirus, was actually so Democrats can dispose of Biden for his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, should they win.
‘Biden is gone-zo,’ Trump said, a reference to the 77-year-old’s age. ”Can you imagine having Kamala?’ he added, calling her the most liberal member of Congress.
The president also hit out at some Congressional Republicans, like GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, who was extremely critical of the president on a call with constituents.
‘We have some stupid people, you know,’ Trump said.
‘Now we have this guy Sasse. He wants to make a statement. Little Ben Sasse,’ Trump jabbed. ‘Republicans needs to stick together better.’
Trump ended his rally boasting, ‘The best is yet to come’.
‘Proud citizens like you helped build this country and together we’re taking back this country. So with your help, your devotion and your drive we’re going to keep on winning, winning, winning!’ he said as attendees joined in his chant.
Masks were not widespread at Trump’s Nevada rally to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And Trump warned that Biden would be more heavy-handed in dealing with the virus, which continues to see new spikes.
‘If he comes in, Carson City will become a ghosttown,’ Trump warned. ‘The Christmas season will be cancelled.’