Dr. Anthony Fauci has previously said it feels "liberating" to work in the new White House, and in an interview with the New York Times, Fauci elaborates on what 2020 was like for him. Among other things, he reveals that he once opened a letter in his office, only to have his face and chest hit with a puff of powder. "I looked at it somewhat fatalistically," he recalls. "It had to be one of three things: A hoax. Or anthrax, which meant I’d have to go on Cipro for a month. Or if it was ricin, I was dead, so bye-bye." After a hazmat team came in and tests were done, it turned out to be a hoax. Other nuggets:
- Anecdotes: Fauci says Trump would routinely rely on anecdotes about this or that treatment as relayed by acquaintances, even though scientific evidence was lacking. "It was always, 'A guy called me up, a friend of mine from blah, blah, blah.' That’s when my anxiety started to escalate."
- Contradictions: Fauci says he didn't enjoy contradicting Trump's statements at press conferences but felt he had no choice. "If I didn’t speak up, it would be almost tacit approval that what he was saying was OK." That's when his friction began with Trump, and with Trump's supporters.
- Keep it positive: As his relationship with Trump soured, he says the president would sometimes "call me up and say, 'Hey, why aren’t you more positive? You’ve got to take a positive attitude. Why are you so negativistic? Be more positive.'" Some of Trump's aides, especially Peter Navarro, were more confrontational.
- Full interview: Read the interview by Donald G. McNeil Jr. here.
- Birx interview: On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx, the former White House COVID coordinator under Trump, told Face the Nation on CBS that she never had a "full-time team in the White House working on coronavirus." In fact, she says she was the only full-timer on the issue. "That's what I was given," she says. "So what I did is, I went to my people that I've known all through the last years in government, all 41, and said, can you come and help me? And so I was able to recruit from other agencies, individuals."
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