‘Angry’ Trump lashes out at Fauci, Biden, media and polls
TUCSON, Ariz. (WKBT) — A self-described “angry” President Donald Trump is railing against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the media — CNN in particular — and polls that show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states.
Those tacks emerged during the president’s campaign swing to the West to boost his team two weeks from Election Day.
Trump faces intense pressure to turn his campaign around, hoping a last-minute surge like the one that fueled his come-from-behind victory four years ago.
However, his inconsistent messaging, the rapid return of rising COVID-19 cases and his attacks on experts such as Fauci could undermine his final efforts to appeal to voters outside his base, observers said.
“I’m not running scared,” Trump told reporters shortly after shortly after taking off for Tucson for his fifth rally in three days. “I think I’m running angry.”
Later, he said he also is running “happy” and “very content.”
Trump, back on the trail after his own hospitalization for COVID-19, assailed his government’s scientific experts as too negative and dismissed the cautionary advice of those experts.
He also blasted government scientists for their criticism of his handling of the pandemic, which has killed nearly 220,000 Americans.
Trump decried Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, as “a disaster.”
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster.”
On the other hand, a former member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force used the same term — “a disaster” — about Trump’s apparent new COVID-19 whisperer, Stanford neuroradiologist Dr. Scott Atlas.
Atlas and Trump repeatedly have cast doubt on masks’ ability to curb COVID, a position Atlas that restated in a tweet Saturday.
“Masks work? No,” Atlas tweeted.
Public health officials denounced the comment, which Twitter ultimately removed. Among them was Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who has complained about Atlas’s credibility.
Such statements also have angered other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, who is the task force’s response coordinator.
The Washington Post reported Monday that “discord on the coronavirus task force” has worsened since the arrival of Atlas, who has not background in epidemiology.
Atlas reportedly has “succeeded in largely sidelining” other doctors on the task force, has challenged analysis from Birx and others with what experts have dismissed as “junk science” and is seen by colleagues as “ill-informed, manipulative and at times dishonest,” the Post reported.
Birx recently confronted Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, about Atlas, insisting that he should be removed from the group. She does not believe that Atlas is giving Trump sound advice, the Post reported.
Birx’s attempt to oust Atlas failed, as Pence reportedly “did not take sides” in the imbroglio, the Post reported.
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail at a rally in Prescott, Ariz., Trump assailed Biden for pledging to heed the advice of scientific experts, saying dismissively that his rival “wants to listen to Dr. Fauci.”
Trump also ramped up his attacks on the news media, singling out NBC’s Kristen Welker, the moderator of the next presidential debate, and CNN for aggressively covering a pandemic that is now infecting tens of thousands of Americans every day.
He lambasted CNN as “dumb bastards” for its extensive coverage of COVID-19.
The American people are “getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t we? You turn on CNN. That’s all they cover,” the president said, evoking boos among rallygoers. “COVID, COVID, pandemic. COVID, COVID, COVID. They’re trying to talk people out of voting.”
The Associated Press and other wire services contributed to this story.
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