WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In a call with his campaign team Monday morning, President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out at the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, labeling him a “disaster.”
Trump made the comments while complaining about all the attention given to the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are tired of COVID. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots… Fauci’s a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years.” the president said, according to tweets from Maggie Haberman of the New York Times.
Members of the press were invited to listen to the call. Trump went on to say he’d get negative press in the event he fired Fauci.
“Fauci, if you listened to him, we’d have 700,00, 800,000 deaths,” Trump added, according to Politico.
The current U.S. death toll is approaching 220,000.
Last week, Fauci argued the community “infection baseline” in the United States is going in the wrong direction as we head into the cool months of the fall.
“You kind of kind of think about the country as a gigantic forest, and when there’s fires in one part of the forest, the other part of the forest is vulnerable,” said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director.
“So if you want to get control of things, you’ve got to be consistent. We’ve got to do things with the ultimate purpose of getting control over the outbreak. And unfortunately, we haven’t done that as well as I think we could.”
Confirmed coronavirus cases have been rising again nationwide in the past month. The total positive cases in the United States recently passed 8 million, according the reporting by Johns Hopkins University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.