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President Trump Threatens to Fire Dr. Fauci After Election

President Donald Trump at the Miami-Opa Locka Airport in Florida, shortly after midnight on November 2, 2020.
President Donald Trump at the Miami-Opa Locka Airport in Florida, shortly after midnight on November 2, 2020.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, an existential threat to the safety and security of the United States, told a crowd of supporters that he’ll wait until after the election to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci. Trump falsely suggested the coronavirus pandemic was not a real concern for Americans at a rally near Miami, Florida, on Sunday, prompting his supporters to repeatedly chant “fire Fauci.” Trump replied that he planned to do just that after Election Day on Tuesday.

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“Here’s what happens, November 4, you won’t hear too much about it,” Trump told the crowd at the Miami-Opa Locka Airport, referring to media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has sickened over 9.2 million Americans and killed over 230,000 more since the pandemic began earlier this year, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker, the highest numbers in the world.

“Ooh, ooh,” Trump said as the crowd started to chant “fire Fauci, fire Fauci.”

“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump said, giving a not-so-subtle hint that he will ax Fauci after it’s politically safe to do so.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of White House Coronavirus Task Force, is a tremendously popular figure with the American public but he’s been largely sidelined by the Trump regime. It’s not clear what the lifetime civil servant even does on a daily basis anymore, though Fauci has been making TV appearances to stress that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Trump hasn’t spoken with Fauci in a long time, but Trump did seek his counsel after he got sick with the coronavirus.

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Fauci gave an interview to the Washington Post over the weekend where he waded into politics for the first time since the pandemic began, taking aim at Scott Atlas, Trump’s favorite health advisor and an advocate of dangerous policies around the coronavirus.

“I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci said of Atlas, according to the Washington Post. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in,” Fauci told the Washington Post. “He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

Aside from reportedly promoting a strategy of natural herd immunity, Atlas has also engaged in highly questionable behavior on TV, including a recent appearance on RT, the Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet that’s been designated as a foreign agent by the U.S. State Department.

But it was Fauci’s take on Democratic challenger Joe Biden that has likely angered Trump the most in recent days. From the Washington Post:

When two people around [Kamala] Harris tested positive for the coronavirus in October, she canceled travel for several days. Asked about the difference between their approaches, Fauci said Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country.”

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It’s good and appropriate that Fauci has started to weigh in on politics, since it’s inextricably linked to the health and welfare of the country, but it does leave us wondering why it took so long for Fauci to speak out, even in relatively veiled terms. Fauci has tried to remain politically neutral in an effort to save his job, but that decision has meant that Fauci is less free to book his own interviews, as he explained to the Washington Post.

Public health experts warn that the next two months are going to be particularly hard for the U.S., as colder weather pushes Americans indoors and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas create opportunities for the virus to spread among families and friends.

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb, President Trump’s former FDA commissioner, warned on Sunday that Thanksgiving would be an “inflection point” for the pandemic. Gottlieb appeared on CBS News’s Face the Nation to speak about how dire things will be as the vast majority of states see an increase in covid-19 infections.

“Things are getting worse around the country,” Gottlieb told Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan. “I think Thanksgiving is really going to be an inflection point. I think December is probably going to be our toughest month.”

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At least 15 states have test positivity rates above 10%, according to CBS News, meaning that spread of the virus is wildly out of control in those regions. The number of new infections in the U.S. has been hanging around 100,000 for the past few days, with a death toll around 1,000 people each day on Friday and Saturday.

And all of this chaos around the pandemic is likely to be exacerbated by a presidential election fraught with its own difficulties on Tuesday. Both Axios and CNN have reported that Trump plans to preemptively declare victory on election night if things are close. The president has also encouraged supporters to “monitor” polling places, and has more recently given his blessing to people who harassed Biden voters in Texas.

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Even if Biden wins the election, he wouldn’t take office until January 20, 2021, leaving the nation with months of Trump’s grossly negligent behavior. But it’s certainly better to wait for Biden than to deliver Trump another four years in office.

Wear a mask, vote, and do everything you can to ensure that Trump faces accountability for the tens of thousands he’s killed through his mishandling of the pandemic. It’s going to be a tough week ahead, but it’ll go a lot easier if we tell ourselves we can never forgive and never forget Trump’s crimes. We need to demand accountability. And the first step is throwing the bum out of office.

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

dickcreme
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“TRUMP TO FIRE FAUCI AFTER ELECTION” should be the blaring headline of a lead story at every outlet this morning. The media has to stop treating everything the president says as if it’s not serious or a joke or just bluster at his rally or whatever. He’s the president, he gets to fire Dr. Fauci if he wants, and he has essentially explicitly just said he would do so in the middle of a worsening pandemic. That is massive news that voters should be aware of. How this is not the primary story today is beyond me. This is one of the subtle ways the media has covered for Trump, by treating the wild, potentially politically damaging shit he says when he goes off the cuff as if it’s just idle speculation rather than the words of the actual president who has the actual ability to carry out those words.