Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was curiously absent from the Friday coronavirus briefing at the White House. As reported by Raw Story, CNN’s Jim Acosta, a frequent agitator of Donald Trump, pressed the president about the doctor’s mysterious absence.
“I don’t know,” Trump said before ripping into Acosta. “But every time you ask that question, whenever he’s not here, you look — you say ‘Where is he?’ And you’ll say ‘Is there a problem?’ No problem whatsoever.”
Trump then claimed he sometimes asks Fauci to come to briefings to appease Acosta and others who regularly ask of his presence — people Trump called the “fakes news establishment.”
“We’re doing great together,” Trump said of his relationship with Fauci.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 3, 2020
Previous reports have suggested a growing rift between Fauci and Trump, and prior absences have sparked rumors that he was fired. In response, Fauci pushed back against such reports during an interview on WMAL radio in Washington, D.C, Business Insider reported.
According to the renowned doctor, media reports of the pair’s alleged clashes are not helpful given the current situation.
“Because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. There really, fundamentally at the core… there are not differences.”
Fauci claims that Trump has lent his ear to his advice and also been open to the suggestions of others on the task force.
“When I made recommendations, he’s taken them,” Fauci said. “He’s never countered or overridden me.”
As reported by ABC News, Fauci and Trump disagree on whether to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order. Fauci said he “doesn’t understand” why every state is not under such a law, which Trump continues to resist issuing.
“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci said on Thursday at a CNN town hall.
According to the president, states should decide whether to take such action. Conversely, Fauci avoided getting into the debate of federally mandates versus states rights, but claimed that the current situation calls for such a course of action.
Despite Fauci’s recommendation, Trump said on Wednesday that states should be given a “little bit of flexibility” when it comes to shutting down. As reported by ABC News, Trump appeared to acknowledge at the Thursday White House coronavirus briefing that states that currently have a low number of coronavirus infections could quickly become hot spots.
As the publication noted, this logic appears to contradict his reasoning for avoiding a nationwide stay-at-home order.