Responding to chants from Florida rally-goers last night, Donald Trump suggested that he might look to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election.
Shortly after midnight Monday morning Trump was in the middle of his well-worn riff complaining about the media’s coverage of the surging coronavirus pandemic that already has killed more than 231,000 people in the United States. He began, “You turn on the news and that’s all you hear – COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID. Here’s what happens: November fourth you won’t hear too much about it.”
As Trump briefly paused in his remarks many in the crowd gathered in Opa-locka, Fla., began chanting “fire Fauci, fire Fauci.” Ever the showman, the president smirked and looked out at the crowd as the chant grew louder and continued. Once it died down, Trump had this reply to the thousands of his supporters.
“Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump said. The crowd cheered its approval as he added, “I appreciate your advice. No, he’s been wrong on a lot. He’s a nice man but he’s been wrong on a lot.”
Donald Trump says he’ll fire Dr. Fauci after the election. pic.twitter.com/48MlqaJdxA
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) November 2, 2020
At virtually ever public appearance he’s made in the past two weeks Trump has criticized Fauci, one of the world’s leading infectious diseases experts. That criticism ramped up after Fauci objected to the use of a video clip of him in a campaign ad, implying that the member of the White House coronavirus task force supports Trump’s reelection.
The reality is the president does not technically have the authority to fire Fauci, who is a career civil servant and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The only person who could institute proceedings to remove Fauci is NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. He’s not likely to do so and that process would take a long time to play out.