• President Donald Trump blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, calling him a "disaster" in a campaign phone call, according to CNN.
  • "If I listened to him, we'd have 500,000 deaths," Trump said. "People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone."
  • As part of the White House coronavirus task force, Fauci has been one of the most visible faces for Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Monday blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, calling him a "disaster" in a campaign phone call, according to CNN.

Trump, who has sought to downplay the severity of the coronavirus since its spread throughout the US, dismissed Fauci's health recommendations, claiming that more people would have died had he listened to the longtime health official.

"Fauci is a disaster," Trump said on the call, which CNN got access to via an unnamed source. "If I listened to him, we'd have 500,000 deaths ... People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots."

Trump later revised the figure to 700,000 or 800,000 deaths, before expressing indifference to whether his statements would reach the press.

"If there's a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn't care less," he added.

Trump then described Fauci as a "nice guy" and a "wonderful sage" who has "been here for 500 years."

Fauci has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.


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