At his latest coronavirus press briefing, Donald Trump insisted that he had a “very good relationship” with Dr. Anthony Fauci, even though the president retweeted harsh criticism of the infectious diseases expert.
But Trump also lamented that Fauci was getting a higher approval rating while he was not.
Fauci has “got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating … and the administration, with respect to the virus?” Trump said, touting the total number of coronavirus tests, the delivery of personal protective equipment.
“So it sort of is curious: A man works for us — with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. [Deborah] Birx also highly thought of. And yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.”
In recent weeks, media outlets have keyed in on the hot and cold relationship between Trump and Fauci, who the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
The New York Times reported that Trump was annoyed last week when Fauci was scheduled to throw out the first pitch as the Washington Nationals season opener, to the point where the president announced that he would do the same at the Yankees game on August 15. The announcement came as a surprise to Yankees officials, the Times reported, but the president canceled over the weekend.
Later in the press conference, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked him about his retweet of a video that featured Stella Immanuel, who has promoted hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure.
Collins asked, “Mr. President, the woman that you said is a great doctor in that video that you retweeted last night said masks don’t work and there is a cure for COVID-19, both of which health experts say is not true. She’s also made videos saying that doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens, and that they’re trying to create a vaccine to make you immune from becoming religious.”
“So what’s the logic in retweeting that?”
Trump answered, “I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors. They were big fans of hydroxychloroquine, and I thought she was very impressive in the sense that, from where she came…”
Collins then noted that what Immanuel was saying was misinformation. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have removed the video.
Trump replied, “I don’t know which country she comes from, but she said that she’s had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. And I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.”
He then tried to move on to another question, but as Collins tried to follow up, Trump ended the briefing.