Donald Trump is not looking to fire Anthony Fauci even after the government’s top immunologist suggested the president should have acted sooner to prevent more deaths from the coronavirus outbreak.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement Monday that Fauci will stay on the coronavirus task force as one of Trump’s ‘trusted advisors.’
‘This media chatter is ridiculous—President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci,’ Gidley said.
‘Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump,’ he continued.
Rumors of Fauci’s potential ousting came after he appeared on CNN Sunday morning claiming that the president should have invoked lockdown and social distancing guidelines sooner than mid-March.
At the same time, Trump spent Easter weekend calling advisers and close allies to ask their opinion of Fauci and boasted that he made the doctor a ‘star’ by putting him at the forefront of the White House press briefings.
Donald Trump will not fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House revealed Monday
‘This media chatter is ridiculous — President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci,’ White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said. ‘Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump’
The comments come after Fauci said Sunday that the federal government ‘could have saved more lives’ if Trump ordered a nationwide lockdown sooner
Fauci regularly appears at the nearly-daily briefings and also engages in several network television interviews every week.
The 79-year-old immunologist is the top infectious diseases expert at the National Institute of health – and he was brought on to help lead the White House charge in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gidley extinguished any remaining speculation that Fauci is on his way out the door.
Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning that the federal government ‘could have saved more lives’ if it had moved sooner to impose social-distancing restrictions – like limiting gatherings to 10 people maximum.
Following his appearance, and several media reports circulating the comments, Trump retweeted a message from a former Republican congressional candidate criticizing Fauci and calling for his firing.
Trump didn’t use the words ‘fire Fauci’ but shared DeAnna Lorraine’s message in a string of Easter Sunday Twitter posts.
Lorraine challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her seat in California’s 12 district, which includes San Francisco.
The Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said Monday that he recommended in February some states expand mitigation efforts to combat the coronavirus spread, but lockdowns didn’t begin until March.
Redfield suggested on NBC’s Today that some recommendations by the CDC and National Institute of Health were ignored earlier on in the coronavirus outbreak and not implemented until March.
‘As February 28 – as we got into March – we recognized the different areas that mitigation was now important,’ Redfiled told Today show host Savannah Guthrie. ‘CDC sent recommendations to Washington, to California, to New York and to Florida recommending that they expand mitigation in those areas.’
Although reports indicate that Redfield and NIH’s top immunologist Anthony Fauci recommended the White House implement social distancing guidelines in late February, such action was not taken until at least three weeks later in mid-March.
Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said Monday morning that he recommended more states issue lockdown orders as early as February
The White House issued social distancing guidelines about three weeks after the recommendations from Redfield and immunologist Anthony Fauci (right)
As of Monday morning, more than 22,000 people died from coronavirus in the U.S.
But Redfield excused the delay, claiming that the severity of the pandemic did not fully go into effect in the U.S. until that time.
‘If you look back, in January and February, the cases we had in this country were all related to China travel,’ he said Monday morning. ‘It wasn’t until February 28 when we saw our first community transmission where we said, ‘wait a minute, where is this coming from?’
‘So I think it’s important when we get back, and when we get through this, we can look back at the timeline,’ he continued.
The 68-year-old CDC director said he recommended in February that the federal government begin to ‘institute broader mitigation’ efforts.
Some reports indicate that the intelligence community informed the White House of the COVID-19 threat as early as November.
Redfield’s comments come as Fauci, a top infectious disease expert who serves on the coronavirus task force, admitted Sunday that more lives could have been saved if a lockdown were issued sooner.
The 79-year-old immunologist told CNN Sunday morning that more could have been done that would have potentially slowed the spread and lessened the ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
‘Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier you could’ve saved lives, obviously,’ Fauci told CNN’s State of the Union.
‘No-one is going to deny that,’ he continued, but added ‘there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then’.
This sparked Trump to repost a tweet that utilized the hashtag ‘fireFauci.’
‘Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives. Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large. Time to #FireFauci…’ the tweet from Republican DeAnna Lorraine read.
Trump reposted the tweet to his page on Sunday with the comment: ‘Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up. Thank you @OANN’
Fauci (right, on CNN’s State of the Union) said Sunday morning that if lockdowns and social distancing guidelines were implemented by the president sooner, less people would have died
This prompted Trump to retweet a post calling for Fauci’s ouster from the White House coronavirus task force. He did not use the term himself, but the reposted tweet used the hashtag ‘fire Fauci’
CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN TIMELINE
CDC Director Robert Redfield said Monday he recommended certain states issue lockdown orders in February, but was widely ignored until later in the outbreak.
‘CDC sent recommendations to Washington, to California, to New York and to Florida recommending that they expand mitigation in those areas,’ Redfield told NBC’s Today.
Here is a timeline of those states’ lockdown orders:
MARCH 11: Washington Governor Jay Inslee bans all social gatherings over 250 people
MARCH 13: Donald Trump declares national emergency over COVID-19
MARCH 16: The six San Francisco Bay counties, including San Francisco, announce ‘shelter-in-place’ orders
MARCH 17: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says city should follow San Francisco with a shelter-in-place order; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says it will be statewide: ‘As a matter of fact, I’m going so far that I don’t even think you can do a statewide policy.’
MARCH 19: California Governor Gavin Newsom issues first statewide lockdown order
MARCH 22: Cuomo signs statewide stay-at-home order
MARCH 23: Inslee extends his lockdown to include all of Washington state
MARCH 24: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issues statewide stay-at-home order
APRIL 3: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ statewide lockdown goes into effect
The president’s allies have also taken to slamming Fauci over his Sunday comments.
Trump’s 2016 campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller said Fauci should ‘be more careful’ during interviews, quoting the CNN headline: ‘Dr. Anthony Fauci admits earlier Covid-19 mitigation efforts would have saved more American lives.’
‘Dr. Fauci needs to be more careful choosing his words on #Coronavirus, & if he’s going to be critical, make clear what he personally could’ve done better,’ Miller tweeted.
He suggested the Fauci take more responsibility for what he could have done better to mitigate the coronavirus threat early on.
Although lockdowns and social distancing guidelines were not implemented by the White House until mid-March, several governors and local governments began taking matters into their own hands to mitigate the spread.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee was the first to do so on March 11, after becoming the first state with deaths from coronavirus.
He started by banning all social gatherings over 250 people.
Two days later, Trump declared a national emergency.
On March 16, the San Francisco Bay area, which includes six counties, issued the first real lockdown where all residents were ordered to shelter-in-place and only venture outside of their homes for essential reasons.
These were limited to reasons like shopping for food or going to the doctor.
While criticism emerged over the timing of national and state-wide lockdowns, Trump has often boasted his decision to ban travel from China early on in the outbreak.
The White House announced a 15 days to slow the spread plan in mid-March where the Trump administration implemented social distancing guidelines.
This included staying home except for necessary reasons – like grocery shopping or going to the doctor – maintaining a 6-foot distance from people in public and limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
At the end of March, when the 15 days were up, Trump ended up expanding the guidelines for another 30 days.
The new end date for the guidelines is April 30, and the president says he plans to have the country back open and operating by May 1 – a self-imposed deadline many experts claim is optimistic and ‘too soon’ to implement.
Trump ally, and his former senior communications adviser for the 2016 campaign, Jason Miller voiced his criticism of Fauci, claiming the immunologist should ‘be more careful choosing his words on coronavirus’ and suggested he take more responsibility
On Sunday Trump also slammed The New York Times for a piece published Saturday that claims he repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and had been warned about it multiple times by top White House officials.
‘The @nytimes story is a Fake, just like the ‘paper’ itself. I was criticized for moving too fast when I issued the China Ban, long before most others wanted to do so,’ Trump tweeted.
The president added: ”@SecAzar told me nothing until later, and Peter Navarro memo was same as Ban (see his statements). Fake News!’ the president added.
Trump claimed that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar only warned him about the threat of coronavirus after he had imposed the China ban at the end of January.
However, it has been reported that Azar briefed him on January 18 while the President was at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida – but Trump kept interrupting because he was more interested in vaping measures.
Trump imposed the China ban after senior White House economic aide Peter Navarro issued a memo in January accurately outlining how bad the pandemic would be.
The president failed to mention a second Navarro memo issued in February that painted an even worse picture. Trump has been accused of not taking that seriously.
There are several reports that intelligence officials told the White House that there was a virus threat coming from China as early as November, indicating that the president knew about coronavirus sooner than he let on.
‘You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint,’ Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday morning. ‘We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not.’
‘But it is what it is,’ he continued. ‘We are where we are right now.’
So far, more than 22,000 people died in the U.S. after contracting coronavirus and there are more than 561,000 cases as of Monday morning.