Top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciIt's time for Fauci to go — but don't expect it to happen The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Budget negotiators: 72 hours and counting CDC director urges Americans to go outside, 'enjoy your trick-or-treating' MORE brushed off new criticism from President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE on Monday, quoting "The Godfather" in a radio interview.
In an interview with Southern California AM radio station KNX1070, Fauci was asked to respond to Trump reportedly calling him "a disaster" during a campaign call earlier in the day.
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci is a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years, he called every one of them wrong,” Trump told campaign staffers. "Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb. But there is a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci is a disaster. I mean, this guy, if I listened to him, we would have 500,000 deaths.”
After having Trump's comments read back to him during the radio appearance, Fauci dismissed it as a "distraction."
“I would prefer not to comment on that and just get on with what we are really trying to do and what we are trying to do is to protect the health and welfare and safety of the American people predominantly, and ultimately, of the world," he said. "We are seeing an uptick in cases — higher than they’ve ever been. Many, many states that had been doing reasonably well are now showing upticks, that’s what we should be concentrating on."
He added he doesn't want to create a “me against the president” mentality, calling it unhelpful.
“[Addressing the virus is] the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in 'The Godfather': Nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country,” Fauci said.
The president’s remarks criticizing Fauci followed an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which Fauci said he was not surprised Trump contracted the coronavirus after a White House event announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee during which guests were not wearing masks or social distancing.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Fauci in recent weeks as the election draws closer. Most recently, the two have sparred after Fauci says he was taken out of context in a video clip used in a Trump campaign ad, adding that he did not give his consent to be used in the ad. The Trump campaign has defended the move.