Donald Trump spoke at the White House on Friday about the coronavirus outbreak, and while much of the briefing focused on what the administration was doing to control the pandemic, he took a brief aside to attack the State Department. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health, didn’t seem to agree with the president’s comments, after he was caught on camera putting his hand on his face and grimacing while standing behind Trump.
Journalist Max Lewis posted a clip of Trump’s Friday speech on Twitter with the focus on Fauci and the president. In the clip, Trump said that he wanted Mike Pompeo, the current Secretary of State, to “go back to the State Department — or as they call it, the Deep State Department — and do his job.”
As Trump concluded his remarks and left the podium so reporters could ask further questions, Fauci could be seen raising his palm to his forehead and smiling uncomfortably as he wiped his fingers across his face.
Fauci has led the response to the coronavirus in the U.S. as one of the individuals on the president’s task force. The immunologist has served under numerous administrations and has been regarded by some as being forthright about the threat that the virus poses to the world.
He recently said that the U.S. had failed in its responsibility to test citizens for the virus, but was careful to say that neither the president, nor the CDC deserved blame for the lack of test kits.
On Friday, Fauci warned people that the pandemic will likely force Americans to continue to bunker down in their homes for several more weeks, as the New York Post reported.
“If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas it’s at least going to be several weeks,” Fauci said. “I cannot see that all of a sudden next week or two weeks from now it’s going to be over. I don’t think there’s a chance of that — I think it’s going to be several weeks.”
On the bright side, he revealed that testing is becoming more available in the U.S., which could help get the spread of COVID-19 under better control, or at least paint a more accurate picture of the disease.
He said that the U.S. is reaching a point where nearly everyone who needs it can get it.
“As I’ve said, it wasn’t as much as it should have been,” he added. “But now we’re very much in the right direction, flooding the system with it…It’s not a perfect system yet but we’re getting there very rapidly.”
Trump has often referred to the “deep state” within the government, claiming that he has been working to ferret out bad actors inside the White House.