WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested during a campaign rally in Florida on Sunday night that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after the election.
The comment came during his fifth and final rally of the day in Opa-Locka, when he promised that a vaccine is coming and the country is "rounding the turn" on the pandemic.
His crowd of supporters then began chanting, "Fire Fauci!"
"Don't tell anybody but let me wait 'til a little bit after the election," Trump said in response, leading to cheers from the audience.
"I appreciate it," said Trump, who continued by mocking Fauci. "Now, he's been wrong on a lot. He's a nice man though."
This came after the White House blasted Fauci for saying in a new interview that the U.S. is in a terrible position heading into the winter months. Fauci also said Joe Biden was taking the virus seriously as a public health threat while Trump was focused on the economy and reopening.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said it was "unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr. Fauci, a senior member of the President's Coronavirus Taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump's actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics."
"We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It's not a good situation," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post. "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. is nowhere close to rounding the turn as the president has suggested. On Sunday, there were more than 400 new deaths and more than 70,000 new cases nationwide.
Fauci has served in his position since 1984, serving under both Republican and Democratic presidents. He has suggested that he would continue in his role regardless of outcome of the 2020 election.