Joe Biden, the Democrat presidential nominee, told supporters on Monday that one reason they should support him over President Donald Trump is that he would keep Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Speaking at a drive-in rally in Cleveland, Ohio, on the eve of the election, the former vice president lambasted Trump for his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Biden, in particular, argued the incumbent president had undermined the roles of the pandemic’s first responders in the healthcare field.
“The people of this nation have suffered. They’ve sacrificed for nine months, and none more than those doctors or nurses, those healthcare workers,” Biden said. “This president is questioning their character, their integrity, their commitment to their fellow Americans. As I said, it’s a disgrace.”
Biden added that Trump’s position regarding those in the healthcare profession was exhibited by his treatment of Fauci. In making the argument, the former vice president seemed to imply that Trump had promised to fire the infectious disease expert over the weekend.
“Last night, Trump said he was going to fire Dr. Fauci,” Biden said. “Isn’t that wonderful? I’ve got a better idea: elect me, and I’m going to hire Dr. Fauci, and we’re going to fire Donald Trump.”
The remarks, in question, that the Democrat nominee alluded to came during a rally the president hosted in Florida on Sunday. In the midst of Trump’s remarks, which pertained to his opposition to further shutdowns related to the virus, the crowd erupted in chants of “Fire Fauci!”
“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait till a little after the election, please,” Trump said in response to the chants, adding, “I appreciate the advice.”
The president then proceeded to note that Fauci had urged him not to impose travel restrictions on China during the early stages of the pandemic.
“He’s been wrong on a lot,” Trump added regarding Fauci. “He’s a nice man, though.”
Fauci, who has been at the helm of NIAID since 1984, has come under criticism, most notably from those on the right, for his response to the outbreak. He has drawn scrutiny for warning that if coronavirus rates increase later this year, further lockdown measures may be required.
Biden, who is pledging not to shut down the country again if the virus resurges, has continually promised that if elected, he will keep Fauci in his post.