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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that he wished Donald Trump would do a better job of giving factual information about the COVID-19 pandemic and following the rules to reduce its spread.

In an interview with Science magazine, Fauci expressed frustration with Trump’s rhetoric and his behavior.

Asked about Trump’s presentation of information at press conferences, Fauci said that he says things “in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.”

“I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,” he added. Instead, he said, he focuses on trying to get Trump’s false statements “corrected for the next time.”

On Thursday, for example, Trump falsely claimed that the FDA had approved the anti-malarial drug chloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. On Friday, Fauci made clear that this was incorrect, as clinical trials have not yet determined its safety and efficacy.

For weeks Trump has made false statements about the crisis, including claims that the situation was under control, that anyone who wanted a test could get one, and that the number of cases in the United States would soon be “down close to zero.”

Trump has also repeatedly failed to follow CDC recommendations that everyone avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing, and refrain from handshaking.

“We should not be doing that,” Fauci said of Trump’s handshakes. “Not only that — we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences.” He promised to keep pushing the administration to address the problem, but said, “I’m trying my best. I cannot do the impossible.”

Fauci made clear in the interview that, unlike Trump, he has never used and will never use racist terminology to describe the coronavirus.

Asked about Trump’s frequent boasts that he made a huge dent in the problem by limiting travel from China and his other false statements about the earliest days of the coronavirus outbreak, Fauci responded, “I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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