Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, on Tuesday denied misleading the public “under any circumstances” after President Donald Trump retweeted a claim that he had done so.
Fauci, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” was confronted with Trump’s apparent endorsement of criticism of his failure to endorse the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment. Trump has repeatedly touted the drug ― and claimed to be taking it himself ― although studies suggest it is ineffective and has potentially serious side effects.
“Dr. Fauci has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard,” the tweet read. Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, has shown effectiveness in studies of some coronavirus patients.
“I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,” Fauci declared on ABC.
When asked if he can continue to do his job as his credibility is being demeaned by the president, Fauci answered: “I don’t really want to go there. I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think that it’s very important. We’re in the middle of a crisis. With regard to an epidemic, a pandemic, this is what I do, this is what I’ve been trained for my entire professional life and I’ll continue to do it.”
Trump has long backed hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure and prevention for the coronavirus. He retweeted a video endorsing the drug Monday night in the same Twitter spree in which he attacked Fauci.
The video was later removed by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Facebook said it violated rules against “false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.”
Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has often contradicted Trump’s pronouncements during the pandemic. The scientist has urged face masks and social distancing, and has cautioned against reopening the economy before the pandemic is under control. Trump until recently refused to wear a face mask, pressed states and schools to reopen, and held indoor campaign rallies.
Trump last week said Fauci is “a little bit of an alarmist” and accused him of making mistakes earlier in the pandemic, before much was known about the virus. The president also has said he likes Fauci personally.