Administration

Fauci says he accepted Biden’s offer to serve as chief medical adviser ‘right on the spot’

Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Friday said he said “yes right on the spot” to President-elect Joe Biden’s offer to serve as his chief medical adviser.

“Absolutely, I said yes right on the spot,” Fauci told NBC’s “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie.

He will continue serving as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a role he has held through six presidential administrations, while also leading the country’s efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden on Thursday told CNN’s Jake Tapper about the offer during his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since the election. 

“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said of Fauci.  

Guthrie also asked Fauci about Biden’s plan to ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office.

“Is that enough or do you feel like that might put an artificial time limit on how long people need to be wearing masks?” Guthrie asked.

“No, he didn’t mean it that way,” Fauci responded. “What he wants, he just wants to get — and it’s a good idea — uniform.”

Fauci added that after the first 100 days, masks might still be needed to stem the spread of the virus but Biden wants commitment from the American people for a structured time frame. 

“I discussed that with him and I told him I thought that was a good idea,” Fauci concluded.

While Biden wants everyone to wear masks, he will not have the constitutional authority to directly order a nationwide mask mandate.

Fauci is one of the most prominent members of President Trump‘s coronavirus task force and polls show he is among the most trusted public officials when it comes to the coronavirus.

He has publicly contradicted Trump’s remarks about the pandemic and criticized his disregard for public health guidelines by holding large campaign rallies — a stance that has made him a frequent target of criticism from the president’s allies and supporters.

Trump suggested at his final campaign rally last month that he may attempt to fire Fauci following the election.

Tags Anthony Fauci Biden transition chief medical adviser Coronavirus Donald Trump Jake Tapper Joe Biden mask mandate National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases White House coronavirus task force

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