Trump questions how Fauci has a high approval rating ‘but nobody likes me’
President Trump on Tuesday questioned why Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, has a higher approval rating with the public than he does on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s interesting. He’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “Because, remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us. We could’ve gotten other people. We could’ve gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration, and for the most part, we’ve done pretty much what he and others … recommended.”
“He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating … with respect to the virus?” Trump wondered aloud.
The president cited the administration’s increased production of masks, gowns, ventilators and other equipment after hospitals and state leaders warned in the early weeks of the pandemic that they were lacking those critical supplies. Trump also highlighted the sheer volume of testing the U.S. has performed, another area where the administration was slow to ramp up.
“It sort of is curious,” Trump said. “A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. [Deborah] Birx, also highly thought of, and yet they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.”
Pres. Trump notes Dr. Fauci “has a very good approval rating” while working for his administration.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 28, 2020
Public polling has consistently shown Fauci, who has worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for roughly four decades, to be among the most trusted voices on the coronavirus. Trump, meanwhile, has gotten low marks for his handling of the pandemic.
A Quinnipiac University poll released July 15 showed 67 percent of respondents do not trust the information Trump provides about the virus, compared with 65 percent who said they do trust the information Fauci delivers.
The president’s commentary underscored the degree to which he has become frustrated with Fauci’s standing with the public amid the pandemic. Trump has in the past become irritated with aides who garner too much attention while working for him, with Fauci becoming the latest example.
The New York Times reported that Trump was so bothered by Fauci being asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals opener last week that he abruptly announced he would be throwing out a first pitch at a New York Yankees game next month before such an event had been finalized. Trump later tweeted that he would throw out a pitch at a later date.
The president stoked fresh speculation about his frustrations with Fauci late Monday when he retweeted a message that said Fauci “has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard.”
Asked about the retweet earlier Tuesday, Fauci said he has not misled the public.
“I don’t tweet. I don’t even read them, so I don’t really want to go there,” Fauci said. “I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it’s very important.”