Angry Donald Trump denies plan to axe coronavirus doctor but signals new fights

World


WASHINGTON: A furious, aggrieved President Donald Trump has dismissed rumours that he was going to fire his top medical advisor on the coronavirus pandemic but launched new fights with the Democrats and the media ahead of the high-stakes reopening of the shuttered US economy.
Unusually, the evening briefing at the White House began with a statement by the internationally renowned Dr Anthony Fauci, seeking to defuse speculation that he had fallen out with the Republican President.
Referring to a CNN interview on Sunday in which he said that earlier mitigation measures would have dampened the escalation of the Covid-19 crisis in the United States, Fauci explained that he’d been answering a “hypothetical.”
Fauci explained his reference in the interview to “pushback” against shutting down the economy – a remark interpreted widely as signalling that Trump was reluctant to take drastic action – as the “wrong choice of words.”
Trump, who on Sunday fuelled speculation by retweeting a critical comment with the hashtag #FireFauci, sought to draw a line under the latest White House turmoil.
“I like him,” he said of Fauci. “I hear I’m going to fire him. I’m not gonna fire him, I think he’s a wonderful guy.” But Trump then launched into a sustained assault on other targets, demonstrating his frustration with accusations that he has mishandled the crisis.
With his reelection in November a tight contest against Democrat Joe Biden, Trump is under huge pressure both to crush the pandemic’s spread and to rescue the world’s biggest economy, which has been paralyzed by social distancing and other virus mitigation measures.



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