President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE said Tuesday that he gets along “very well” with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and that Fauci wasn’t present at a Fox News town hall “because he has other things to do.”
"We get along very well. I think it’s been very good,” Trump told Fox News host Bill Hemmer during the network’s virtual coronavirus town hall Tuesday afternoon.
Trump went on to laud public health officials Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, both of whom are prominent members of the White House coronavirus task force.
"I respect all of these people. These are great people. Deborah’s extraordinary. Tony’s extraordinary. I get along with all of them. But if there’s — you know they have other things to do,” Trump continued.
Fauci has been a regular presence at White House briefings on the coronavirus outbreak but his absence from Monday evening’s press briefing sparked speculation.
At times, Fauci’s public remarks have cut against Trump’s own, though the NIAID director has been careful to avoid any direct criticism of the president and Trump has praised him for his knowledge.
Still, Fauci spoke of disagreements between himself and Trump during a recent interview with Science Magazine, which inflamed talk of a potential break between the president and one of his key advisers on the coronavirus pandemic.
In a podcast interview Tuesday morning, Fauci said he wished the media would stop “pitting” him against Trump, noting Trump has listened to his advice.
"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," Fauci said on the "Mornings on the Mall" podcast. "The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful."
Trump also offered praise for Fauci during Monday’s briefing, calling him a “good man.”