Speed Reads

coronavirus criticism

Fauci reportedly slammed Trump's leadership as 'rudderless' behind his back — and criticized him to his face too

Dr. Anthony Fauci has largely avoided harsh critiques of President Trump in public, seemingly to avoid getting on Trump's bad side as the COVID-19 pandemic rages. But behind closed doors, the nation's top coronavirus expert hasn't been afraid to call out the president's false statements — and has been even more critical of Trump behind his back, The Washington Post's Bob Woodward reports.

In a preview of Woodward's forthcoming book Rage published Wednesday, Woodward recounts Fauci's intense criticism of Trump to other coronavirus committee leaders. He described Trump as "on a separate channel" during meetings, saying "his attention span is like a minus number," Woodward reports. Fauci also reportedly called Trump's leadership "rudderless," and said "his sole purpose is to get re-elected."

But it's not as if Fauci is afraid to tell Trump what he's doing wrong to his face. In an Oval Office meeting after Trump spread falsehoods during a news briefing, Fauci said to everyone in the room that "we can't let the president be out there being vulnerable, saying something that's going to come back and bite him," Woodward reports. Vice President Mike Pence, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and senior adviser Stephen Miller all "tensed up at once," as they were "surprised Fauci would talk to Trump that way," the Post writes.

Fauci has reportedly taken particular issue with Kushner throughout the pandemic, as he has reportedly tried to move Trump away from governing during the crisis and toward campaigning. Read more at The Washington Post.