President Donald Trump suggested to a Florida crowd Sunday night that he may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci following Tuesday's election. Speaking at a campaign rally in Opa-Locka, Florida, his fifth and final stop of the day, the president expressed his frustrations with the coronavirus pandemic remaining a prominent topic in the news, promising that a vaccine is soon coming and reiterating his claims that the country is "rounding the turn" on the pandemic, despite a surge in cases.
As his words sparked chants of "fire Fauci" from the crowd, the president said, "Don't tell anybody but let me wait 'til a little bit after the election. I appreciate the advice." According to CNN, Trump later added that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is "a nice guy but he's been wrong a lot."
Trump supporters chant "Fire Fauci!" at midnight rally in Florida. "Let me wait until a little bit after the election," Trump replies pic.twitter.com/nGCirnZdRn— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) November 2, 2020
His remarks came less than 48 hours after Fauci, in an interview published by The Washington Post Saturday, criticized the Trump administration's response to the pandemic. Fauci, who has served in his position since 1984 and has made several remarks in recent months regarding the administration's response to the pandemic, warned that the country is "in for a whole lot of hurt" and adding that "you could not possibly be positioned more poorly." Claiming that the White House's coronavirus task force has been having fewer meetings and "the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly," Fauci said that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign "is taking it seriously from a public health perspective" while Trump is "looking at it from a different perspective" by choosing to focus on "the economy and reopening the country."
In a statement responding to those remarks obtained by NBC News, White House spokesman Judd Deere said it was "unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President's Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump's actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics." Deere added that rather than vocalizing his concerns with other members of the task force, Fauci is "instead choosing to criticize the president in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the president's opponent — exactly what the American people have come to expect from The Swamp."