As the face of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a favorite target of rumor mills, with reports often speculating that President Donald Trump would force Fauci out. But in a recent interview with InStyle, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced that he’s not planning on quitting anytime soon.
“I see myself in that role as long as I feel that I’m being useful, and I’m valued in it, and the White House wants me. If any of the above change, then I would step down,” Fauci said, according to The Hill.
The Fauci dilemma
The problem with Dr. Fauci these days is not so much his prognostication skills; it’s that the media sees him as infallible and suggests that he’s the only person on the planet who should have a say in how we move forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But there’s a reason the task force has so many members and that Trump has a full panel of experts feeding him advice on this front: because no one person can decide what’s best for the whole country.
Dr. Fauci is an infectious diseases expert, and as such, he offers advice only from that perspective. His recommendations do not consider the economy — only his idea of how we can contain the coronavirus.
His input, along with that from the rest of the task force, is then weighed by the president before making a final decision.
“A very good relationship”
Of course, not everyone is a fan of Fauci’s recommendations, and some White House officials have even said so publicly. Still, President Trump has made clear that he respects Fauci and has no intention of asking him to step down.
That sentiment undoubtedly fueled Fauci’s answer when he was asked by InStyle if he sees himself being terminated.
“I don’t see any termination within the near future because I judge [my career] by my energy and my effectiveness,” Fauci replied, according to The Hill. “And right now, with all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective.”
Speaking more directly on his relationship with Trump, Fauci told InStyle that “it’s complicated.”
“Because in some respects I have a very good relationship with him,” he said, as The Hill reported. “During the times that I was seeing him a fair amount, it was quite a collegial relationship. And in many respects, it probably still is, but I don’t see him very much anymore.”
This is likely because Trump has taken a step back from the task force and no longer gives daily coronavirus press briefings. But even without regular pressers, Americans can rest assured that the Trump administration is still hard at work fighting back against COVID-19 — and Fauci, at least for now, is still along for the ride.