Fauci quotes The Godfather in response to Trump criticisms

James Crump
·3-min read
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC on 30 June 2020 ((Reuters))
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC on 30 June 2020 ((Reuters))

Dr Anthony Fauci quoted a line from The Godfather when responding to president Donald Trump’s attacks on him over the last few days.

On Monday, President Trump criticised Dr Fauci, 79, one of the country's top infectious disease experts and part of the US government's coronavirus task force, during a call with campaign staff, according to The Hill.

Dr Fauci has been critical of the president’s response to the coronavirus pandemic over the last few weeks, and Mr Trump said that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people that have gotten it wrong.”

He called Dr Fauci a “nice guy” but a “disaster,” before he added: “If I’d listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 8.2 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 220,185.

Later on Monday, during an interview with Southern California radio station KNX1070, Dr Fauci was asked to respond to the president’s criticism.

“I would prefer not to comment on that and just get on with what we are really trying to do and what we are trying to do is to protect the health and welfare and safety of the American people predominantly, and ultimately, of the world,” he said.

“We are seeing an uptick in cases — higher than they’ve ever been. Many, many states that had been doing reasonably well are now showing upticks, that’s what we should be concentrating on,” he added.

More than half of US states have reported a rise in daily coronavirus cases over the last week, including Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Last Friday, the US also saw its highest number of daily cases across the country since 71,000 were recorded on 29 July, as 69,100 positive tests were reported.

Dr Fauci told the radio station that he does not want to create a “me against the president” mentality when answering questions for the press, as he feels it is unhelpful.

“[Addressing the virus is] the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in The Godfather: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned,” Dr Fauci said.

In the celebrated 1972 movie about a Mafia family, variations of that line are spoken by the characters Tom Hagen and Michael Corleone to the latter’s impulsive older brother Sonny following a failed assassination attempt on their father.

Dr Fauci told the radio station: “I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.”

Mr Trump has criticised Dr Fauci several times over the last few weeks, and his latest attack came after the 79-year-old said that he was not surprised the president caught coronavirus, after attending a Supreme Court nomination ceremony for judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House.

The ceremony, which is now believed to have been a superspreader event for Covid-19, took place both indoors and outdoors, while numerous attendees were spotted not wearing face masks or observing social distancing.

At least 12 attendees tested positive for Covid-19 in the days following the event, as several high-profile Trump administration staff, including the president, received positive coronavirus test results and were forced to self-isolate.

On Tuesday, President Trump continued to attack Dr Fauci, and falsely labelled him a “Democrat” while seemingly blaming him for mistakes made during the pandemic.

“He’s a Democrat,” Mr Trump also said about the doctor when asked about the pair’s recent disagreements. “He is a little bit not a team player,” he added.

A spokesperson for Dr Fauci said on Tuesday that he “is not affiliated or registered with any political party, nor does he endorse any political party or candidate”.

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