Trump Hints That He’s All But Certain to Fire Fauci

“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

Giorgio Viera/ZUMA

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Trump’s attacks against Dr. Anthony Fauci—which last month saw the president label him and other health officials “idiots”—have come to this: the president is hinting that he’ll fire the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases shortly “after the election.”

“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump told supporters at a Sunday rally in Opa-Locka, Florida, as chants of “Fire Fauci” broke out. He added, “I appreciate the advice.” 

Trump doesn’t have the power to directly sack Fauci—he’d need to get Fauci’s supervisor to do it—but as my colleague Dan Friedman noted back in April, the president could dramatically restrain his role as a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force. But the suggestion is the latest sign of the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Trump and Fauci, who, despite the president’s barely contained animosity, remains trusted by an overwhelming majority of Americans. In the final weekend before the election, as the United States continues to shatter infection records through a third wave of the pandemic, Fauci ratcheted up his criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis, telling the Washington Post that the country “could not possibly be positioned more poorly.” The White House quickly pounced on the interview, baselessly accusing Fauci of being politically motivated.

As stunning as Trump’s suggestion to unseat one of the nation’s top scientists might be, targeting a voice committed to sharing unwelcome news about the virus is a move in lockstep with his closing campaign message: Ignore the over 225,000 deaths and embrace my deadly coronavirus denial. We’ll see how Americans feel about that soon enough.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate