Speaking a day after he retweeted a message claiming Fauci had misled the public, Trump chalked up his own sinking numbers to his personality.
But he said Fauci’s broad respect should transfer to the Trump administration – for whom Fauci works.
“I get along with him very well and I agree with a lot of what he’s said,” Trump insisted.
“It’s interesting: he’s got a very good approval rating. And I like that, it’s good,” he went on. “Because remember: he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us. We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn’t have to be Dr. Fauci. He’s working with our administration. And for the most part we’ve done what he and others – and Dr. Birx and others – have recommended.”
Trump continued: “And he’s got this high approval rating. So why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect – and the administration – with respect to the virus? We should have it very high.”
“So it sort of is curious,” Trump said, “a man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx also, very highly thought of – and yet, they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me?”
“It can only be my personality, that’s all,” he said.
In a series of tweets Monday night, Trump retweeted false claims, including one suggesting hydroxychloroquine was a cure for coronavirus and a tweet that called Fauci a “fraud.” Twitter took action on Tuesday and removed several tweets that were also retweeted by Donald Trump Jr., his son, and restricted the younger Trump’s account.
The Food and Drug Administration has revoked emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19, saying they do not meet “the statutory criteria” for emergency use authorization as they are unlikely to be effective in treating the virus based on the latest scientific evidence.
Although Trump has maintained that he has a good relationship with Fauci, he has often sought to downplay the doctor’s warnings against reopening the country too rapidly. The President has called Fauci “a little bit of an alarmist” and the White House has pushed comments made by Fauci early in the pandemic in a bid to discredit him.
CNN’s Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.