Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, lamented in an interview published Tuesday that the White House coronavirus task force briefings have become tiresome.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Fauci called the briefings, which have lasted for up to roughly two and a half hours, “really draining.”
“If I had been able to just make a few comments and then go to work, that would have really been much better,” said the public health official. “It isn’t the idea of being there and answering questions, which I really think is important for the American public. It’s the amount of time.”
In the same interview, Fauci said the United States lacks the critical testing needed to reopen parts of the economy that have been strained by the coronavirus.
“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” he said.
Fauci’s remarks come after the White House dismissed reports that President Donald Trump was considering relieving the infectious disease expert of his duties.
“This media chatter is ridiculous – President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. “Dr. Fauci has been and remains a trusted advisor to President Trump.”
“This media chatter is ridiculous – President Trump is not firing Dr. Fauci…It was Democrats and the media who ignored Coronavirus…” pic.twitter.com/KCmvnnO23B
— Hogan Gidley (@hogangidley45) April 13, 2020
“It was Democrats and the media who ignored Coronavirus choosing to focus on impeachment instead, and when they finally did comment on the virus it was to attack President Trump for taking the bold decisive action to save American lives by cutting off travel from China and from Europe,” he added.
Gidley’s statement came in response to establishment media reports speculating that President Trump was going to fire Fauci after retweeting a tweet containing the hashtag #FireFauci.
“I like him,” the president said in reference to Fauci. “Today I walk in, I hear I’m going to fire him. I’m not firing him, I think he’s a wonderful guy.”
“I re-tweeted somebody, I don’t know. They said fire. It doesn’t matter,” he added.