It's been "several months" since President Trump was in attendance for a meeting of the White House coronavirus task force, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, in an interview with Meet the Press on Friday described the current status of the White House coronavirus task force, explaining that it is now meeting less regularly than it used to earlier in the pandemic despite the U.S. seeing an uptick in daily COVID-19 cases.
"The number of task force meetings have diminished, and we're averaging right now about one a week," Fauci said.
Asked by Chuck Todd when Trump himself last attended one of these meetings, Fauci said "that was several months ago." Fauci also said in the interview that Scott Atlas, a controversial White House COVID-19 adviser who has no background in epidemiology and recently posted a false claim that masks don't work that was removed by Twitter, has the president's "ear" more than he does.
"I definitely don't have his ear as much as Scott Atlas right now," Fauci said. "That has been a changing situation. We certainly interact with the vice president at the task force meetings, and the vice president makes our feelings and what we talk about there known to the president. But direct involvement with the president in the discussions, I have not done that in a while."
Fauci's comments come days after Trump attacked him as a "disaster" and said that people are "tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots." Brendan Morrow
President Trump has apparently not been briefed by the country's top infectious disease expert for months, even amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke to the Financial Timesin an interview published Friday, in which he revealed that it's been more than a month since he actually saw the president in person at the White House; that last happened on June 2, he said. Additionally, Fauci said that it's been at least two months since he briefed Trump, though he's "sure" his messages are being relayed to the president. If that's the case, "Trump is evidently not listening," the Financial Times writes.
After all, Fauci in the interview had to offer a fact-check of Trump's recent false claim that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are harmless.
"I'm trying to figure out where the president got that number," Fauci said. "What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that's obviously not the case."
Fauci noted that despite Trump's assertion, since COVID-19 has such a "broad range of manifestations," "even if it doesn't kill you, even if it doesn't put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill."
It's not just Trump who's been seeing less of Fauci lately, as he's also been making fewer TV appearances in recent weeks as CNN reports the White House has blocked some interview requests with him. Fauci himself seems to have a theory as to why.
"I have a reputation, as you probably have figured out, of speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things," Fauci told the Financial Times. "And that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately." Brendan Morrow