President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at medical experts and complained about people being tired of hearing about COVID-19, as the confirmed death toll in the U.S. ticked closer to 220,000 and the spread of the disease continued to accelerate.
Trump made the comments on a call with campaign staffers, seeking to pass blame for the pandemic and seemingly lamenting his inability to shift the national conversation.
“People are tired of Covid,” Trump said. “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.”
“Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” Trump added. “This guy’s a disaster.”
The president was referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force. Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine and distort Fauci’s comments as the public health expert has called for the implementation of safety protocols throughout the pandemic.
“If there’s a reporter on [the call], you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less,” Trump said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts his face mask as he arrives for a Senate hearing in June. He and other public health experts say masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus, but President Donald Trump has often mocked mask-wearing and has refused to back a national mask mandate.
The comments represent a doubling down on a new presidential pandemic strategy: Blame the experts.
On Sunday, Trump attacked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by saying his opponent would follow expert guidance if he were elected.
“He’ll listen to the scientists,” Trump warned at a campaign rally in Nevada. “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression, instead of, we’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.”
Broadly speaking, it is true that Trump has ignored established science. Evidence suggests, however, that his inaction has inflamed the pandemic and its economic repercussions, not made the situation better.
The president has steadfastly refused to endorse a national mask mandate, going so far as to block a draft order last month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would mandate that masks be worn on public transportation.
Scientists and medical experts consider masks to be an effective way to prevent transmission of the coronavirus and safely reopen the economy.
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