President Trump retweeted a #FireFauci tweet after Dr. Anthony Fauci made a comment Sunday on CNN that he didn't like, then later clarified he's not actually going to fire Fauci. Now Fauci is clarifying. That aforementioned CNN comment came after Fauci was asked if the earlier release of social distancing guidelines could have saved lives and the doctor said, among other things, "I mean, obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously, no one is going to deny that." On Monday, Trump called Fauci to the podium earlier in the day's briefing than is typical, per USA Today. Once there, Fauci said he'd used a "poor choice of words" the day before. He also indignantly clarified that he was making the statement of his own volition, not at Trump's behest.
"Hypothetical questions sometimes can get you into some difficulty," Fauci, the country's highest infectious-diseases official since 1984, continued. Then Trump took the podium and reiterated that he would not be firing Fauci; the Washington Post reports he called the doctor "a wonderful guy." Trump then launched into a lengthy defense of the actions he's taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including a "campaign-like" video. Many are rallying behind Fauci, with some calling Trump's daily briefings "propaganda," though others on the right are ramping up their attacks on him after Trump's retweet, despite Trump's assurances he won't actually be firing him. The Atlantic on Monday published a piece praising Fauci for being "more devoted to truth than to Trump." (More on Trump's angry Monday briefing here.)