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Trump says he was 'not allowed' to fire Fauci, but doctor 'wasn’t a big player' in administration

"Dr. Fauci would tell me things, and I wouldn’t do them, in many cases," Trump said.

September 7, 2023 8:12am

Updated: September 7, 2023 8:15am

Former President Donald Trump said that he did not fire National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci because he was "not allowed" to, but at the end of the day, Fauci was not a "big player" in his administration.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump during an interview Wednesday why he kept Fauci, who has since retired, in the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"First of all, you’re not allowed. He’s civil service, and you’re not allowed to fire him. But forget that, because I don’t necessarily go by everything. But Dr. Fauci would tell me things, and I wouldn’t do them, in many cases," Trump responded. "But also, he wasn’t a big player in my administration. Dr. Fauci became a big player in the administration of Biden."

Giving some examples of how he disagreed with Fauci, he said the doctor started out as a "radical no-masker" and later "became a super radical masker." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not consider recommending that the public cover their faces with masks until late March 2020, even though evidence for their effectiveness was sparse at the time. A major concern early in the pandemic was that Americans would hoard medical supplies such as masks, preventing healthcare workers from accessing them.

Fauci and Trump had numerous disagreements since the start of the pandemic.

For nearly four decades, Fauci served as NIAID director, which is not a politically appointed position. When President Joe Biden entered the White House, he asked Fauci to become his chief medical adviser.

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