Administration

WaPo: Trump allegedly asked Fauci if officials could let coronavirus ‘wash over’ US

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President Trump reportedly asked Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, whether U.S. officials could allow the coronavirus pandemic to “wash over” the country, The Washington Post reported.

During a coronavirus task force meeting in the Situation Room last month, on the same day Trump ordered travel to be suspended from the United Kingdom and Ireland in an effort to stem the spread of the virus, Trump reportedly asked Fauci, “Why don’t we let this wash over the country?”

Two anonymous sources familiar with the president’s comments confirmed the question to the newspaper.

Trump was reportedly also seeking to understand why “herd immunity” to the coronavirus had been rejected. Herd immunity occurs when a large amount of the population becomes immune either through infection and recovery or inoculation. 

“Mr. President, many people would die,” Fauci reportedly responded to the president’s question.

The Washington Post reported that Fauci initially did not understand what the president meant by “wash over” but was then reportedly alarmed.

The Washington Post also reported that six doctors who serve within the Trump administration have started holding their own meetings to discuss public health and medical questions nearly every day, including Fauci, Deborah Birx, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield.

The group was reportedly formed after some of the doctors became frustrated with what the paper referred to as “voodoo” — such as Trump’s push for the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as a possible treatment for coronavirus — in larger meetings for the coronavirus response. 

Trump on Friday called the decision on when and how to reopen the country the most difficult of his life but said he’d be seeking the counsel of medical experts.

“I don’t know that I’ve had a bigger decision. But I’m going to surround myself with the greatest minds — not only the greatest minds but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason,” Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Deborah Birx Donald Trump Mike Pence White House coronavirus task force

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