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Donald Trump said in March he “didn’t have a lot of time” to meet the top public health expert Dr Anthony Fauci for a briefing about the coronavirus outbreak that was then gathering pace, according to a new recording released by the reporter Bob Woodward.
The president is now at Walter Reed hospital outside Washington, for treatment after contracting the virus which swept through his White House last week. Nearly 7.5m cases have been confirmed in the US and about 210,000 people have died.
On Sunday, Trump, who has been widely criticized for failing to advocate mask-wearing, social distancing and other public health measures to contain the virus, said he had learned a lot. “This is the real school,” Trump said from Walter Reed, to which he was admitted on Friday. “I get it and understand it. [It is] a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it.”
Trump spoke to Woodward on the record 19 times for the reporter’s book Rage.
In one conversation, on 19 March, the president infamously said he “wanted to always play [the virus] down” and said, “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic”.
In the same call, CNN reported on Monday, the president called Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, a “sharp guy” who has “done it before”.
Fauci has emerged as a trusted voice on the pandemic, his every interaction or disagreement with Trump frenziedly parsed in the media.
Asked if he had sat down with Fauci, Trump said: “Yes, I guess, but honestly there’s not a lot of time for that, Bob.
“This is a busy White House. We’ve got a lot of things happening. And then this came up.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Trump told Woodward he ‘didn’t have a lot of time’ to meet Fauci as virus spread | Donald Trump