WASHINGTON D.C. (Agencies) – White House health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday retracted on his comments about the government’s initial response to the coronavirus.
In a CNN interview on Sunday Dr. Fauci said that more lives could have been saved if the U.S. made earlier efforts to contain the virus. He also said in the interview that “there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
Fauci defended President Trump’s willingness to support social distancing measures, adding it was “the wrong choice of words” to describe a “pushback.”
Trump later that evening retweeted a call to ”#FireFauci.” A White House spokesman said Monday that the president “is not firing Dr. Fauci,” who “has been and remains a trusted adviser to President Trump.” Fauci on Monday evening defended his comments, and Trump’s record on the coronavirus, while standing next to the president at the White House’s daily briefing on the disease.
“I was asked a hypothetical question” about whether lives could have been saved if mitigation policies were put in place earlier, “and hypothetical questions sometimes can get you into some difficulty,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. Dr. Fauci, also said that his response on CNN “was taken as a way that maybe somehow something was at fault here.”
Asked about his comment from the interview that “there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then,” Fauci said “that was the wrong choice of words. When people discuss [the mitigation policies], not necessarily in front of the president but when people discuss, they say, ‘Well, you know, this is maybe going to have a harmful effect, on this or on that.’ So it was a poor choice of words,” he said.
Asked if he was clarifying his remarks “voluntarily,” he replied: “Everything I do is voluntarily. Please. Don’t even imply that.”
After Fauci spoke, Trump returned to the stand to speak about how great his administration is and the measures taken to prevent the disease from spreading to the U.S., all while bashing his critics in politics and the media.
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