World

Trump calls his top coronavirus expert Fauci a ‘disaster’

LAS VEGAS/WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump called coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci a "disaster" on Monday, airing his frustration with the scientist during a call meant to reassure campaign staff he has a path to victory on Nov 3 despite trailing in opinion polls.

Mr Trump and Dr Fauci, a member of his coronavirus task force, have been at odds over how best to handle a pandemic that has killed more than 219,000 people in the United States.

Dr Fauci, 79, who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents and is one of the most admired scientists in the US, has urged that Covid-19 continue to be taken seriously. Mr Trump has suggested the worst has passed.

"Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we'd have 500,000 deaths," Mr Trump said.

Dr Fauci has openly complained about being cited in a Trump re-election campaign advertisement that discussed the administration's pandemic response, and said in an interview by CBS' 60 Minutes that he was not surprised Mr Trump himself contracted the virus.

Mr Trump, speaking in Las Vegas ahead of two rallies in Arizona, said Dr Fauci bombed during TV interviews but that it would be "a bigger bomb if you fire him".

Dr Fauci's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Trump said Americans were fed up with pandemic restrictions.

"They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots," said Mr Trump. - REUTERS

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