During a phone call with campaign staff that reporters were allowed to listen in on, President Donald Trump lashed out at Dr. Anthony Fauci, calling him an idiot and baselessly claiming that if the immunologist were in charge, more people would be dead in the U.S.
Trump appeared to regard the recommendations made to curb the spread of the coronavirus as an annoyance, even as cases across the country spiked and experts cautioned the U.S. could see worse yet.
"People are tired of Covid. I have these huge rallies," Trump said. "People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots."
Trump’s fury came after Fauci’s appearance on “60 Minutes,” during which he criticized last month’s White House Amy Coney Barret event.
“Were you surprised that President got sick?” Fauci was asked. He replied, “Absolutely not.”
Fauci also revealed that he is protected around the clock by federal agents because he and his family have received death threats.
“That’s sad the very fact that a public message to save lives triggers such venom and animosity that results in threats to my life and safety,” said Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
In his call to his campaign staff, Trump called Fauci a “disaster,” and criticized the way in which he has regarded the pandemic.
“Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” Trump said of Fauci.
To date, more than 220,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 8.19 million people have contracted the virus.
Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday after stopping by an indoor Las Vegas church service Sunday.
He was spotted pulling out a wad of cash and counting out what appeared to be four $20 bills before depositing it into the collection bucket.
The 200 worshippers, most of whom were not wearing masks, sang the president's praises. He was there with his top aides, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Hope Hicks, both of whom appeared to have recovered from their bouts with COVID-19.