- "Certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased," remarked Fauci.
- The president has clashed with public health experts, pushing unproven or dangerous substances as cures and refusing to wear a protective mask in public.
- Trump stepped away from the daily coronavirus briefings with top experts after a disastrous appearance in April, when he suggested that disinfectant might be a coronavirus cure.
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Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, said that President Donald Trump is now only rarely meeting public health experts to guide the nation out of the coronavirus crisis.
In an interview with health care outlet Stat News published early Monday, Fauci was asked whether he was in frequent contact with the president over the progress of potential vaccines.
"No," replied Fauci, who's the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Disease.
"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75% of the time after the task force meeting we'd meet with the president. So I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago," Fauci said.
"But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased."
The US news agenda is currently consumed by protests and riots sweeping its cities, but the nation is also facing a second problem: How to get out of the coronavirus crisis.
The disease has killed more than 100,000 Americans, and has devastated the economy.
Throughout the crisis Trump has clashed with health experts, touting unproven cures and ignoring the safety measures they do suggest, such as wearing a mask.
Trump has not hosted daily coronavirus briefings since April, when he disastrously proposed taking disinfectant as a potential coronavirus treatment.
According to reports, the coronavirus task force, which Fauci is a key member of, continued to meet behind the scenes.
Trump and Fauci have also been at odds over the pace of reopening America from lockdown measures. Fauci in testimony to Congress in May warned of the risk of lifting the measures too soon. The president is reported to be intent on holding the RNC convention in August with no social distancing measures in place.
The president is centering his re-election campaign round the slogan "Transition to Greatness", and is pledging to lead America's post-lockdown economic resurgence.
In the interview, Fauci said he remained concerned about lifting lockdown in areas where infection rates remained high, after pictures emerged over the Memorial Day weekend of people at packed pool parties in Lake of the Ozarks, Arkansas .
"When I see a situation where there is a region, a state, a city, a county where there's a considerable amount of viral activity there, and you see people crowding around bars and there were several pictures of that, that was quite striking over the last couple of days or on boardwalks, where they're very, very close to each other, I do get concerned," he said.
- Trump, fearing for safety as protesters set fires that can be seen from the White House, hid in a bunker, applauded the SpaceX launch, and avoided anything that could calm the protests
- Trump has one of his most authoritarian weeks yet as president as the US surpassed 100,000 coronavirus deaths
- Trump attacked Twitter after it restricted his post for 'glorifying violence' and said the company is unfairly targeting him