Speaking on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease told host Jonathan Karl that he was “a bit dismayed” by the Trump supporters’ reactions
“His followers booed him, which I was stunned by … given the fact of how popular he is with that group,” he said. “That they would boo him … tells me how recalcitrant they are about being told what they should do.”
Mr Trump drew his fans’ ire during an appearance in Dallas with ex-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly after he told O’Reilly that he’d gotten a booster shot. The former president later told attendees at the event that his supporters were "playing right into their hands" by dismissing the efficacy of the shots and not letting him take credit for them.
"Look, we did something that was historic, we saved tens of millions of lives worldwide. We, together, all of us, not me," Mr Trump said. "Take credit for it. ‘Take credit for it. It's great. What we've done is historic. Don't let them take it away. Don't take it away from ourselves”.
Dr Fauci, who also serves as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, frequently drew Mr Trump’s ire during his presidency by contradicting numerous false statements which Mr Trump made during televised daily briefings in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The veteran virologist, who has led the NIAID since the Reagan administration, has since become a bete noire for Republicans looking to downplay Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic over the course of 2020. A recent report by the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis revealed that Mr Trump and his advisers pushed for a “herd immunity” strategy which would have let the coronavirus run rampant through American communities as they sought to prioritise Mr Trump’s reelection campaign over the push to stop the spread of Sars-CoV-2.
Nonetheless, Dr Fauci praised Mr Trump for his decision to encourage supporters to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I think that his continuing to say that people should get vaccinated and articulating that to them, in my mind, is a good thing,” he said. “I hope he keeps it up”.
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