Trump jokes Fauci should run for Congress against AOC | TheHill

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCalifornia governor praises Trump’s efforts to help state amid coronavirus crisis Trump threatens to withhold visas for countries that don’t quickly repatriate citizens Trump admin looks to cut farmworker pay to help industry during pandemic: report MORE joked Friday that he told Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFrench officials report heart incidents in experimental coronavirus treatments with hydroxychloroquine Overnight Health Care: Trump calls decision on reopening US biggest of his life | Trump to convene council to advise | Health officials push back on May opening | States see virus cases rise | Global death toll passes 100K Fauci expects ‘real degree of normality’ by November election MORE, a leading member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, that he should move to New York and run against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: David Miliband says world won’t be safe until poor nations get more aid; Cuomo rips WHO Trump jokes Fauci should run for Congress against AOC The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Small businesses, unemployed await Congress’s next moves MORE (D-N.Y.) because he would “win easily.”

“I told Tony Fauci, why don’t you move to New York, run against AOC, you will win easily,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday afternoon, referring to Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York’s 14th District. “He’s decided that he’s not going to do that.”

The remarks prompted laughter from Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Both task force members were seated in the briefing room near the podium.

Trump added shortly thereafter, “I kid.”

President Trump: “I told Tony Fauci, I said, ‘Why don’t you move to New York, run against AOC.’… I kid.”

— The Hill (@thehill) April 10, 2020

Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term congresswoman, emerged as a popular target for the president’s criticism after she was elected in 2018 when Democrats took control of the House.

Fauci has become a popular face of the White House coronavirus task force, often appearing on television to discuss the administration’s efforts. He has served at the helm of the NIAID for more than three decades.

Trump shared the anecdote in response to a question from CNN’s Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaPence bars coronavirus task force members from appearing on CNN: report Trump jokes he’ll ‘look into’ pardon for ‘Tiger King’ after asked by reporter at virus briefing ABC’s Karl shuns responding to Trump’s personal attacks: ‘It’s not what matters’ MORE about whether he would listen to health experts if they told him that the country could not be opened up on May 1. The White House social distancing guidelines are due to expire on April 30 and Trump has appeared eager to loosen restrictions to help revive the U.S. economy.

“I listen to them about everything. I think they are actually surprised. I have great respect for these people, all of them, and others that are working for us,” Trump answered.

Pressed further, Trump said he would listen to his health experts but also said he understood the “other side of the argument” for opening up the country, referencing economic concerns related to the business closures and layoffs spurred by the coronavirus.

“I will certainly listen,” Trump said. “I understand the other side of the argument very well.”

“I will listen to them very carefully, though,” he added.

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