President Donald Trump said Monday that he did not always agree with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“I have a very good relationship with Dr. Fauci. I’ve had for a long time right from the beginning. I find him to be a very nice person,” Trump said. “I don’t always agree with him.”
Trump cited the decision to ban travel from China during the coronavirus pandemic as one example of where he disagreed with Fauci.
“Dr. Fauci will admit that that was a good decision,” he added.
Reporters asked the president about his relationship with Fauci during a White House event Monday afternoon.
Trump steered away from any personal conflict with Fauci, who has received praise from Trump opponents.
“No, I get along with him very well. I like him personally,” he said.
Fauci said Friday that he has not seen Trump in person since June 2 and had not briefed the president for at least two months.
He has also stepped up his criticism of the United States for failing to properly slow the spread of the virus.
“As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not,” Fauci said in an interview with FiveThirtyEight.
Trump also noted his criticism of Fauci in an interview with Sean Hannity on Friday.
“Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes,” he said.
ABC News also cited anonymous White House officials Monday claiming that Trump privately called Fauci “Dr. Doom and Gloom.”
Earlier Monday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied that the White House was trying to discredit Fauci.
“To the notion that there’s opposition research and that there’s Fauci vs. the president couldn’t be further from the truth,” McEnany said during a press briefing on Monday. “Dr. Fauci and the president have always had a good working relationship.”
Several media outlets reported that the White House sent them “opposition research” to discredit Fauci in response to their questions about the president’s comment regarding Fauci’s alleged mistakes.
“There’s no opposition research being dumped to reporters,” McEnany said. “We were asked a very specific question by the Washington Post, and that question was President Trump noted that Dr. Fauci had made some mistakes, and we provided a direct answer to a direct question.”