During a campaign call on Monday, President Trump slammed infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, calling him a "disaster," and that "people are tired of COVID," according to multiple reporters who listened to the call.
Driving the news: CBS's "60 Minutes" aired an interview Sunday night with the NIAID director, where he said he was "absolutely not" surprised Trump contracted COVID-19 after seeing him on TV in a crowded place with "almost nobody wearing a mask."
What he's saying: "Every time he goes on television there's always a bomb, but there's a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy's a disaster," Trump said on a campaign call.
- "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 ... Fauci is a nice guy. He's been here for 500 years."
- "If I listened to him, we'd have 500,000 deaths," before later saying it would be 700,000 or 800,000. "If there's a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn't care less," per CNN who had access to the call.
The big picture: The White House has repeatedly blocked Fauci from making television appearances or doing interviews. Fauci also previously disputed a political ad put out by the Trump campaign, saying a clip of him appearing to praise the president's coronavirus response was used out of context and without his permission.