Dr. Anthony Fauci started off Monday's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing by addressing an interview he did yesterday on CNN. During that interview, he was asked about hypothetical situations, including whether or not earlier mitigation efforts – like social distancing – could have spared more lives.
The media, of course, put words in Fauci's mouth. They made the assumption that he thought President Donald Trump could have done more to protect the American people.
When asked about what he said, Fauci explained that the disagreements and "pushback" he felt were part of normal discussions that take place in private, not in front of the president.
CBS News' Paula Reid asked Dr. Fauci if he was saying that voluntarily, at which point the health expert snapped.
"I do everything voluntarily," he said, putting his hands up. "Please. Don't even imply that."
After Dr. Fauci clarifies his remarks from Sunday about how earlier mitigation efforts would have saved lives, @PaulaReidCBS asks if he's doing so "voluntarily."— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 13, 2020
Fauci: "Everything I do is voluntarily. Please. Don't even imply that." https://t.co/9T8aUPjUrs pic.twitter.com/NHqBbOUQ77
Fauci broke things down even further, saying Trump listened to recommendations he and Dr. Birx made.
"The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I went in and formally made a recommendation to the president to actually have a 'shutdown,'" he explained. Although it wasn't a true shutdown, Fauci said mitigation efforts were immediately implemented.
"Obviously there would be concern by some and, in fact, that might have some negative consequences. Nonetheless, the president listened to the recommendation and went to the mitigation. The next second time I went with Dr. Birx in to the president and said 15 days are not enough, we need to go 30 days, obviously, there were people who had a problem with that because of the potential secondary effects. Nonetheless, at that time, the president went with the health recommendations and we extended it another 30 days," Fauci said. "So I can only tell you what I know and what my recommendations were."
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