President Trump on Sunday retweeted a call from one of his supporters to fire Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.
The tweet came from former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine, who accused Fauci of downplaying the danger of the coronavirus outbreak. Lorraine launched an unsuccessful primary challenge last month against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s seat in California.
“Fauci is now saying that had Trump listened to the medical experts earlier he could’ve saved more lives. Fauci was telling people on February 29th that there was nothing to worry about and it posed no threat to the US public at large,” Lorraine wrote.
“Time to #FireFauci,” she added.
Trump then retweeted the call to fire one of the top members of his coronavirus crisis response team.
“Sorry Fake News, it’s all on tape,” Trump wrote. “I banned China long before people spoke up.”
Earlier on Sunday, Fauci admitted that the virus outbreak could have been slowed sooner if measures to stop the spread had been put in place earlier.
“I mean, obviously, you could logically say, that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci told CNN. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that.”
In a statement later on Monday, the White House pushed back on speculation that Trump is considering firing Fauci.
“The media chatter is ridiculous,” the statement read. “President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci.”
Trump’s tweet “clearly exposed media attempts to maliciously push a falsehood about his China decision in an attempt to rewrite history,” the White House said. “It was Democrats and the media who ignored Coronavirus choosing to focus on impeachment instead, and when they finally did comment on the virus it was to attack President Trump for taking the bold decisive action to save American lives by cutting off travel from China and from Europe. Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump.”
Fauci himself has insisted there is no daylight between him and the president on the administration’s response to the coronavirus response and has called on the media to stop suggesting otherwise, calling it “unfortunate.”
“I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences,” Fauci said last month.
“The president has listened to what I have said and what the other people on the task force have said. When I have made recommendations he has taken them,” he said. “The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful.”