Trump swipes at 'nice guy' Fauci: 'He's a Democrat'

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President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Thursday rally in North Carolina, dubbing him a “Democrat” and resurrecting comments in which the doctor said masks weren’t necessary earlier in the pandemic.

“‘Don’t wear a mask — don’t, don’t, don’t,’” Mr. Trump quoted Dr. Fauci as saying. “But he’s a nice guy so I keep him around.”

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in March there was no reason to walk around with a mask on.

There had been concerns about running out of masks for health workers, and the extent of asymptomatic spread of the virus wasn’t fully understood at the time.
By April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to wear a face covering when they cannot physically distance themselves from others in public.

Mr. Trump endorsed the policy but criticizes mask-wearing at times, mocking reporters and others as “politically correct” if they insist on keeping one on. He’s also said restaurant waiters or others could spread germs by adjusting their masks.

Dr. Fauci recently scolded the Trump campaign for using him in a political ad, saying he didn’t want his praise of the coronavirus task force’s work early in the pandemic to look like an endorsement.

He says he tries to stay out of the political arena, but Mr. Trump said otherwise in Greenville, North Carolina.

“He’s a Democrat, he’s Cuomo’s friend,” Mr. Trump said, referring to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat whose coronavirus press conferences were viewed as a competitor to Mr. Trump’s own last spring.

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