Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he isn’t bothered by calls that he be fired for contradicting President Donald Trump at times over the White House’s response to COVID-19, saying instead he doesn’t “think it’s going to happen.”
“You know, this is the world we live in. You’re going to see things like that all the time,” Fauci said during a question-and-answer session on C-SPAN on Monday. “Somebody didn’t like the way I answered. That’s it. That’s the world I live in. That doesn’t bother me.”
Fauci’s comments came a day after Trump sparked concerns he may soon sideline the doctor after retweeting a message that included the hashtag #FireFauci. But the president pushed back against such claims amid questioning from reporters on Monday, saying he still enjoyed working with the doctor.
“Today I walk in and I hear I’m going to fire him,” Trump said Monday during his press briefing, noting that it didn’t “matter” why he shared the #FireFauci missive with his 77 million followers. “I’m not firing. I think he’s a wonderful guy.”
Fauci has quickly become one of the national touchstones for coronavirus guidance during the pandemic, which has infected more than 582,000 people in the U.S. and killed more than 23,500. He has repeatedly pushed back against talking points from the White House, saying he didn’t understand why the whole country wasn’t under stay-at-home orders and questioning the promotion of unproven anti-malarial drugs to treat COVID-19.
C-SPAN’s Steve Scully asked what would happen at the White House should Fauci ultimately be removed, a scenario the doctor threw water on before noting there were “a lot of competent people around” the White House should he no longer be a member of the coronavirus task force.
“It depends on what you mean by fire me,” Fauci said Monday. “He can remove me from the task force …. I was with him for a while today. He has no intention of doing that.”
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he added. “I really don’t.”
Fauci also responded to concerns that he was working too hard during the coronavirus pandemic, admitting that he was “running on fumes, but the fumes are okay.”
“It doesn’t really matter, I’m doing fine,” Fauci said. “The people that we really need to tip our hats to are the brave people of our health delivery system. Risking their own health … by taking care of people that are critically ill. Those are the ones we should be worried about.”
“Don’t worry about me.”