Fauci appeared in the White House press briefing room for the first time since this spring and, in several jaw-dropping comments, revealed his true feelings on Trump.
He didn’t mention the former president by name but he was clear about the differences of work life in the Biden administration versus that under Trump’s.
‘One of the new things in this administration is: if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer,’ he said, comparing his 24 hours working for Biden compared to his months of counseling Trump on the coronavirus pandemic.
‘One of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the president, is that one of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent open and honest if things go wrong. Not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that multiple times,’ he noted.
Given his new, free-speaking style, he was asked if there was anything he wanted to clarify or amend that he said during the Trump administration.
‘No, I mean I always said everything,’ Fauci said. ‘That’s why I got trouble sometimes.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci made it clear he’s happy to be working for President Joe Biden
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, let loose in his first appearance in the White House briefing room in months
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made it clear he was not joking.
‘I was very serious about it, I wasn’t joking,’ said Fauci, who also serves as Chief Medical Adviser to Biden, when asked about his comments.
Fauci had a contentious relationship with Trump in the president’s final months in office. Trump wanted to focus on reopening the economy as Fauci and other medical experts wanted to keep stronger restrictions in place to keep the COVID virus from spreading.
And there was the famous face-palm moment. In March, as Fauci stood behind Trump at the podium in the briefing room, the doctor appeared to chuckle to himself before covering his face with his palm as Trump railed against ‘the Deep State Department.’
Fauci was sidelined by the Trump White House, rarely appearing in press briefings and kept from doing interviews with major news outlets. He spread his message about COVID through local news interviews and podcasts.
Trump made his displeasure with Fauci known. He called him a Democrat and mulled firing him. Fauci had to have a security detail due to death threats made to him and his family.
In reflecting on his relationship with President Trump, Fauci noted on Thursday he took no joy in contradicting the former commander in chief.
‘It was very clear that they were things that were said, regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that. That really was an uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact, I can tell you I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president,’ he said.
Trump took a dose of hydroxy in an effort to ward off the coronavirus – a practice many experts expressed doubt about. Trump ultimately got the virus and recovered.
Dr. Anthony Fauci made his first appearance at President Joe Biden’s side on Thursday at an event on new executive orders tied to the coronavirus pandemic
Fauci talked about the strain he felt giving briefings under President Trump such as this briefing in April, 2020
Fauci’s face palm moment in March went viral
Fauci noted the strain he felt talking about the pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans, while working under Trump.
‘You didn’t feel like you could say something and there wouldn’t be repercussions,’ he said.
Of the new administration’s stance toward him, Fauci said: ‘It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.’
‘The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence — what the science is, and know that’s it, let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling,’ Fauci noted.
Fauci made his first appearance at Biden’s side on Thursday, when the president called for the nation to summon a ‘full scale war-time effort’ to beat back the coronavirus.
Biden also signed new executive orders to speed vaccine delivery and called wearing a mask a patriotic duty.
Fauci also revealed he’d gotten his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
‘I did. I had it on the 19th,’ he told reporters ahead of the president’s event in the State Dining Room.
‘I was hoping that I wouldn’t get too knocked out. I did for about 24 hours. Now I’m fine,’ he said. ‘Fatigued. A little achy. You know. Chilly. Not sick.’