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Fauci says daily press briefings are important but 'really draining'

Fauci says daily press briefings are important but 'really draining'
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Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci quotes 'The Godfather' in response to latest Trump attacks Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Trump's scorched earth style overshadows campaign's message in final weeks MORE, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the daily White House coronavirus task force press briefings are important for the American public but “really draining.”

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spoke to The Associated Press and opened up about preparing for his public role.

“Being there, to be able to answer the questions of the media, I think is really important,” Fauci said in a virtual interview. “Because we’re going through a real public health crisis in our country.”

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Fauci, however, described the duration of the briefings as “really draining,” adding that he often waits around for the briefings to start.

The briefings typically begin later than scheduled and run long — Monday’s briefing ran for nearly 2 ½ hours, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE used a lot of his time to lash out at his critics and members of the media.

“If I had been able to just make a few comments and then go to work, that would have really been much better,” Fauci said. “It isn’t the idea of being there and answering questions, which I really think is important.”

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Fauci has become a household name during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with his image being added to doughnuts and bobbleheads.

The future of the top public health official has come into question recently after he sparked criticism from conservative circles by telling CNN that more lives could have been saved if the federal government had moved forward with social distancing guidelines directing Americans to avoid public places and travel earlier than mid-March.

Trump then stoked the controversy on Sunday by retweeting a conservative account that called for him to “#FireFauci.”

The White House issued a statement denying Trump was planning to fire the top public health official, dismissing talk of it as “ridiculous” media speculation.

During Monday’s press briefing, Fauci sought to squash any notion of a break between himself and the president, saying Trump has listened to the recommendations of public health officials regarding social distancing guidelines.