Fauci: Trump’s call to ‘liberate’ Virginia, Michigan ‘hit me like a punch to the chest’

Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday that former President Trump’s call to “liberate” Virginia and Michigan “hit me like a punch to the chest.”

Fauci described his reaction to the former president’s tweets and comments starting in mid-April that called for the reopening of state governments during coronavirus lockdowns for a CNN special report. 

“The thing that hit me like a punch to the chest was then all of a sudden he got up and said ‘Liberate Virginia,’ ‘Liberate Michigan,’ ” Fauci said of Trump. “And I said to myself, ‘Oh my goodness. What is going on here?’ ”

“It shocked me because it was such a jolt to what we were trying to do,” Fauci told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta. 

Former White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx also told Gupta that Trump told her at the time the U.S. “will never shut the country down again.” 

“The one policy directive he gave to me in April, which was the last time I really had any briefing with him in that kind of way, was we will never shut the country down again.”

Throughout the year, Trump spoke out more in support of reopening the country’s economy, arguing that the U.S. could not function under lockdown for longer. 

Most states reopened at least some of their businesses by the end of May. 

Tags Anthony Fauci CNN CNN Special Report Coronavirus COVID-19 Deborah Birx Donald Trump Pandemic

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