President Trump retweeted a post Sunday evening that included a call to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the controversial member of Trump’s White House coronavirus task force who accused Trump of ignoring his advice to institute social distancing in mid-February in an interview with CNN Sunday morning, saying that lives “could have been saved.” Trump himself did not directly comment on Fauci.
Fauci has served since 1984 as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH.
Later Sunday video from February 29 resurfaced of Fauci on the Today Show telling Americans they did not need to alter their behavior for the COVID-19 Chinese coronavrius.
Trump wrote, “Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up. Thank you
@OANN”, over a tweet by former GOP congressional candidate DeAnna Lorriane that said, “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…”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2020
Video of Fauci from February 29:
Link to Today Show video dated February 29 titled Dr. Fauci on coronavirus fears: No need to change lifestyle yet
Fauci’s interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union from Sunday morning:
UPDATE: Transcript excerpt via CNN:
TAPPER: “The New York Times” reported yesterday that you and other top officials wanted to recommend social and physical distancing guidelines to President Trump as far back as the third week of February, but the administration didn’t announce such guidelines to the American public until March 16, almost a month later.
FAUCI: You know, Jake, as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not.
But we — it is what it is. We are where we are right now.
TAPPER: Do you think lives could have been saved if social distancing, physical distancing, stay-at-home measures had started third week of February, instead of mid-March?
FAUCI: You know, Jake, again, it’s the what would have, what could have.
It’s — it’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that.
But what goes into those kinds of decisions is — is complicated. But you’re right. I mean, obviously, if we had, right from the very beginning, shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different.
But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.