- President Donald Trump on Saturday once again publicly broke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, calling the epidemiologist’s congressional testimony on Friday “wrong!”
- Fauci testified Friday before a House subcommittee investigating Trump’s handling of coronavirus.
- He said the US had only shut down its economy by about 50% compared to 95% in European countries.
- Trump and Fauci have repeatedly clashed, with the president last month referring to Fauci as an “alarmist” and wondering why Fauci had a higher approval rating than he did.
President Donald Trump on Saturday once again publicly broke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading US expert on coronavirus, questioning Fauci’s assessment of why the US is facing a more severe outbreak than European countries.
During his testimony Friday before a House subcommittee that’s investigating the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19, Fauci explained why he believed the US was dealing with an ongoing surge of coronavirus infections, while European countries that were hardest-hit early on have seen more success in mitigating their spread.
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that European countries instituted lockdown measures shut down their countries by about 95%, which he said differed from the US strategy.
“When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down really only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country,” Fauci testified.
“When we reached our peak, as they did, they came down almost to a low baseline. Take a look at what happened to our baseline,” he added. “We came up, down, and then we plateaued at about 20,000 cases per day. We started off at a very difficult baseline that was going on at the time that we tried to open up the country.”
The president disagreed.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2020
“Wrong!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon, sharing a video of Fauci’s testimony shared by CBS News on Friday. “We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases.”
“How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups,” Trump added. “Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!”
The president’s Saturday tweet is the latest escalation of tensions between the president and his coronavirus adviser.
During an appearance on ABC News earlier this week, Fauci defended himself after Trump shared of a tweet that claimed Fauci had misled the public about coronavirus.
“I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,” Fauci said.
Earlier in July, the president called Fauci and “alarmist,” though, during an appearance on CNN, Fauci disagreed and said he viewed himself more as a “realist” and an “optimist.”
The president during a press conference on Thursday answered questions about his relationship with Fauci.
“I get along with him very well, and I agree with a lot of what he’s said,” Trump told reporters when asked about his sharing of critical tweets.
He added: “And he’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration — with respect to the virus?”