President Donald Trump is pushing back on a weekend report that claimed his administration could have acted sooner to control the coronavirus in the United States, calling it "fake news" and retweeting a message that called on him to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci from his virus task force.
On Sunday, Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — told CNN that there was "pushback" to suggestions in February that the Trump administration should enact social distancing guidelines as cases of COVID-19 started to show up in pockets of the U.S.
"Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives," Fauci said. "If we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then."
On Sunday evening, Trump replied to a tweet by DeAnna Lorraine, a former Republican House candidate who lost in California's 12th Congressional District primary in early March. Lorraine wrote that Fauci seemed to give mixed messages in terms of when the president was warned about the serious threat the virus posed. Her tweet ended, "Time to #FireFauci."
Trump responded, "Sorry Fake News, it's all on tape. I banned China long before people spoke up."
Trump's mention that he "banned China" was in reference to his decision to stop some travel to the U.S. from China on Feb. 2.
Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and has appeared to clash with Trump over the last several weeks. In early April, for example, Fauci said the entire country should be under a stay-at-home order despite Trump's opposition to issuing such a directive.
Trump responded, "States are different … There are some states that don't have much of a problem."
Trump said in late March, however, that he and Fauci "get along very well."
On Sunday, it was reported that Trump asked his virus task force in March whether the federal government should let the virus "wash over" the U.S, in order to create what's known as "herd immunity."
Fauci reportedly replied, "Mr. President, many people would die."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.