Trump welcomed Fauci in a March 19 interview as a “sharp guy” who “has done it before” but under pressure after meeting with the country’s leading infectious disease expert to better understand the virus President offered, “Yes, I think, but honestly there isn’t much time for that, Bob.”
“This is a busy White House,” Trump said. “We have a lot of things to do. And then that came up.”
“This is not the school that we read the book in and I get it and I understand and it’s a very interesting thing,” Trump said on the video released on Sunday. “And I’ll let you know about it.”
Trump’s March admission not to prioritize time for Fauci also underscores the tension that has defined their relationship during the pandemic.
Fauci, widely viewed as a rare source of honesty within the White House’s coronavirus task force, has received repeated reprimands in conservative media from the president and his allies to counter their more optimistic views about the outbreak.
“I consider myself a realist rather than an alarmist,” Fauci told CNN in July.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward on February 7th.
And on March 19, the same day Trump said he didn’t have much time to meet with Fauci, he also told Woodward that he always wanted to “downplay it”.
“I still like to downplay it because I don’t want to panic.”