Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
Published 9:56 a.m. ET July 16, 2020 | Updated 7:00 p.m. ET July 16, 2020
Dr. Fauci responds to comments from members of President Trump’s cabinet that are critical of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WASHINGTON – Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci batted away criticism from President Donald Trump and his allies and made it clear he did not think he would be fired despite a “complicated” relationship with the president.
Trump’s allies have publicly criticized Fauci and Pandemic Protocol Task Force head Deborah Birx but sent mixed signals Wednesday after the White House disavowed an op-ed from trade adviser Peter Navarro including comments about Fauci, and Trump and Vice President Mike Pence defended Fauci.
In an interview with CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell published in Instyle, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he did not “see any termination in the near future” since he viewed his career in terms of his energy and effectiveness.
“And right now, with all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective,” he said. “I certainly am energetic. And I think everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job.”
Fauci said “in some respects,” he has a “very good” relationship with Trump. It was “collegial” when they saw each other often, he said, but ” I don’t see him very much anymore.”
Asked why, Fauci said he thought the “tenor” of the White House shifted to “reopening” the economy, making economic advisers more prominent.
Access to Trump, Fauci said, is “through the vice president,” who leads the Pandemic Protocol Task Force
Fauci was interviewed by O’Donnell in the magazine after she said “CBS Evening News” had not been able to bring Fauci on air since April 15.
The doctor declined to comment on whether the Trump administration had been “muzzling” him, but when asked a similar question by The Atlantic in an interview published Wednesday, Fauci replied, “I can’t make a comment on that, but I think you know what the answer to that is.”
In an interview with Reuters published Wednesday, Fauci said he did not let the attacks on him bother him.
“What we’re doing with vaccines, what we’re doing with therapeutics, what we’re doing with clinical trials is the real substance,” Fauci said.
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