Anthony Fauci Says Donald Trump Has Not Attended a Coronavirus Briefing in Months
Doctor Anthony Fauci said Friday that President Donald Trump has not attended a COVID-19 task force meeting in months and that the task force only meets about once per week.
Fauci’s revelation comes a day after new coronavirus cases reached nearly an all time high in the United States. On Thursday, new diagnoses spiked to 75,049, the second-highest tally since July. This is a total negation of Trump’s claims during Thursday night’s final presidential debate that the country is “rounding the corner” in its fight against the disease.
“We’re rounding the corner,” Trump declared, adding that “people are learning to the live” with the virus. His Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, said that “people are learning to die with it.”
With surging cases, deaths well over 220,000, and with hundreds of thousands more projected before the end of 2020, questions are swirling over whether the president is doing anything, at all, to control the pandemic.
The answer appears to be that he is not.
On Friday’s Meet The Press Daily, host Chuck Todd pressed Fauci for the insider’s scoop on Trump’s relationship with the Whie House’s panel of experts.
“Tell me about task force meetings today. How often do they occur, and who runs them?” asked Todd.
Fauci said that meetings have become rare and have shifted away from science to instead focus on how to reopen the economy.
“Well they certainly are less than they used to be, Chuck. We used to have them during the early spring when things were really hot, particularly in the Northeastern part when New York was having a terrible time. We were meeting five, six, sometimes seven days a week. And then sometime several months ago when things pivoted around to the economic reopening as it were of the country, the number of task force meetings have diminished, and we’re averaging right now about one a week,” said Fauci. “We had one last week, I was involved in that – this week actually, and I was involved in that as well as last week. We also have a governors call that isn’t an official task force meeting. By the way, you asked a question – the vice president is in charge of the task force meeting. And then the doctors, myself and Dr. [Deborah] Birx and Dr. [Robert] Redfield and Dr. [Stephen] Hahn and others meet, we used to meet in person but now we meet virtually at least once a week. But an official task for meeting, Chuck, in the last several weeks it’s been about one per week.”
Todd: “And when was the last time you had the president at one of these task force meetings?”
Fauci: “At a task force meeting, that was several months ago, Chuck, several months ago.”
Todd: “And do you brief him often anymore? Does he call you up? He says you guys still talk. How often does he ask you your advice? Do you feel like you have his ear as much as [Dr.] Scott Atlas?”
Trump appointed Atlas, a former radiologist, to be his go-to guy on all things COVID. But Atlas has discouraged the use of masks and promoted letting the virus rip throught population in order to achieve herd immunity, normally associated with vaccines.
Fauci: “I definitely don’t have his ear as much as Scott Atlas right now, that has been a changing situation. “We certainly interact with the vice president at the task force meetings, and the vice president makes our feelings known to the president, but direct involvement with the president and discussions, I have not done that in a while.”
Fauci says it's been "several months" since Trump last attended a COVID-19 task force meeting. pic.twitter.com/esr2YOrgYN
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 23, 2020