- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 20, 2020

President Trump wavered Tuesday between ridiculing and complimenting Dr. Anthony Fauci when asked about his relationship with the infectious disease expert during an interview that aired on Fox News.

A day after calling Dr. Fauci a “disaster,” Mr. Trump said during the interview that he is getting along “very well” with the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“He’s been there for a long time. I leave him there. And he’s a nice guy. But he’s been wrong,” Mr. Trump said about Dr. Fauci while speaking by phone on the “Fox & Friends” morning show.

Mr. Trump subsequently criticized Dr. Fauci’s handling of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, citing examples including him advising people earlier in the outbreak not to wear face masks.

The president, a Republican, also claimed repeatedly during the interview that Dr. Fauci is a Democrat. Dr. Fauci said recently he is not registered to any political party, CNN reported last week.

Mr. Trump also once again mocked Dr. Fauci, 79, over the wide-of-the-mark first pitch he threw at a recent Washington Nationals baseball game. The president previously called it “the worst first pitch” ever.

“He’s a nice guy. He’s got a really bad arm. And not a good baseball thrower. The only thing I say is he is a little bit, sometimes, not a team player,” Mr. Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

“No, I’m not at odds [with Dr. Fauci],” Mr. Trump said later during the interview. “I like him. I think he’s a terrific guy.”

Dr. Fauci has served as the director of NIAID since 1984. He has been a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force led by Vice President Mike Pence since earlier this year.

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