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Fauci blames Trump admin staff for feeding him misinformation, animosity

Former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci in a new interview blamed former President Trump’s staff for feeding him misinformation and becoming “furious” over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci, who spent his career at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and served under the Trump and Biden administrations, became the face of the United States’s response to pandemic.

In recent years, he’s become an enemy of the right after combating Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about the virus and urging Americans to be vaccinated.

In the interview Friday with former Washington Post journalist Rick Atkinson, speaking at the Lincoln Theater, Fauci said he and Trump got along “very well” at times. But, he added, when stay-at-home and social distancing orders were initially placed in March 2020, the former president went along with it, hoping “understandably, but not realistically,” that it would be similar to the flu and “disappear like magic.”

“And I was saying you know, it’s not,” the doctor said, adding that the disagreement happened in front of the press.

Fauci noted that he refused to agree to saying the virus would disappear quickly, “because that’s not the nature of this disease.”

“We’ve got to own it. It’s a different disease,” he said.

But, the doctor continued, Trump “didn’t seem to get that upset with me, but his staff started to be gradually furious with me for doing that.”

After the former president claimed hydroxychloroquine, a medicine used to treat malaria symptoms, would combat COVID-19 and Fauci publicly rejected the argument, he said the White House team started to “try to discredit everything I said.”

“And the White House comms team did something, which the White House people have told me, the first time where they did opposition research on one of their own staff,” he argued.

Fauci’s comments came during an event at the Lincoln Theater where he discussed his new book “On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service.”

In a recent appearance before Congress, Fauci grew emotional talking about the harassment and death threats he and his family continue to face to this day. It was his first time addressing lawmakers since retiring almost 18 months ago.

And in an interview on a late-night show earlier this week, Fauci said he wasn’t trying to tear Trump down by diverting on pandemic-related messaging because he has a “great deal of respect” for the office of the presidency.

But he said he had to contradict the former president “because he was saying things that were not correct.”

Joseph Choi contributed.

Source: The Hill

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