President Donald Trump hinted to a Florida crowd that he may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, after the election.
After a hectic day of campaigning on Sunday, Trump spoke to supporters in Opa-Locka, Florida, as the presidential race enters its final stretch.
'He's Been Wrong a Lot'
Trump made the comments after midnight while complaining about the media's coverage of the coronavirus pandemic when the crowd broke into a 'Fire Fauci' chant.
"Don't tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election," Trump said as his statement was met with applause and cheer from the crowd. "I appreciate the advice," he added before stating that the White House Coronavirus Task Force member has been "wrong on a lot" about the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the clip below:
It is not yet clear how exactly Trump plans on firing Dr. Fauci, who as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is a career civil servant and not a political appointee.
Fauci's Criticizm of Trump's Handling of the Pandemic
The threat to Dr. Fauci's job comes as Trump's administration has grown displeased with the doctor in the wake of comments he made to the Washington Post, criticizing their response to the pandemic, including Dr. Scott Atlas, whom the President has relied on for advice on handling the coronavirus.
While Trump and Fauci put forward a show of cooperation in the early stages of the pandemic, their relationship has deteriorated significantly. Fauci has said he no longer briefs the President and has been replaced by Atlas.
In the WaPo article, Fauci said the country was heading into a long and potentially deadly winter with an unprepared government that was unwilling to make tough choices.
"We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation," Fauci said. "All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."
The U.S. reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases on Friday -- the highest single day tally of cases recorded for any country. As of early Monday morning, more than 9.2 million people across the country have been infected by the coronavirus, and more than 230,000 people have died.