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GOP Arizona lawmaker says Fauci and Birx 'undermine' Trump's coronavirus response
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) accused Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, two key members of the White House's coronavirus task force, of "undermining" President Trump's response to the virus during an interview Thursday.
In a back-and-forth with Fox News's Neil Cavuto, Biggs called on Trump to remove the two from the task force, claiming that they were spreading "panic" with warnings about how the coronavirus pandemic could evolve, should Americans not follow public health guidelines.
"Birx and Fauci, they've gone well past their ... they've expired," Biggs told Cavuto.
"Their time of usefulness has expired. What they do is when the president comes out and makes a policy, because he is the president, he is the policymaker, when they come out, and they make these statements that they make, they engender panic and hysteria and undermine what the president's doing."
The lawmaker's comments come after Fauci warned Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. could reach 100,000 cases per day if the country does not get a handle on the pandemic.
"We need to do something about that and we need to do it very quickly," said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Cases across the country have skyrocketed in the past few weeks, with states like Arizona, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma reaching record one-day highs.
Florida on Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.
Fauci expressed concern again Thursday, saying that "we [the United States] are not going in the right direction."
Biggs's comments are just the latest public comments from a supporter of the president calling on Fauci in particular to be removed.
In April the president retweeted a congressional candidate whose tweet included the hashtag #FireFauci. Other Republicans including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have also clashed with the infectious disease expert.
"We just need more optimism. There is good news out there, and we're not getting it," Paul told Fauci during the latter's testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The White House has consistently denied that the president is considering firing Fauci.
"This media chatter is ridiculous - President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci," a White House spokesman told The Hill in April, adding: "Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump."