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speaking his mind

Fauci gets honest about the 'surrealistic experience' of working for Trump

Dr. Anthony Fauci is continuing to look back — and get brutally honest — about his experience working under former President Donald Trump.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, opened up about the Trump administration in a new interview with The Atlantic, recalling how the White House "became a different place" where officials broke from previous administrations' "deep respect for science," making for a "surrealistic experience."

For instance, Fauci recalled his frustration over Trump hearing things about the COVID-19 pandemic from random people like "a buddy he knew from somewhere" and taking it as seriously as what the experts were saying, as well as surrounding himself with "strange people" promoting "garbage" science. He also said Trump showed an apparent lack of interest in the pandemic.

"It's really tough to get into his head, but I think what was going on with him is he was not interested in the outbreak," Fauci said. "The outbreak to him was an inconvenient truth that he didn't accept as a truth."

Fauci remembers making administration officials "furious" by contradicting Trump's "nonsense," and at one point, the White House even sent out a list of things he allegedly got wrong about the pandemic that "was complete crap." In the end, Fauci said he tried not to let things like this bother him.

"People's lives are at stake," Fauci said. "I'm a physician. I'm a scientist. I'm a public-health expert. I know what I need to do. All that other stuff is just a distraction. Quite frankly, it's bulls--t."

At the same time, Fauci said he and Trump actually "really liked each other," and the president was "charismatic and likable on a personal basis," if "not on a policy basis." But with President Biden in office, Fauci said, it's as if "we went from an alternative world into a real world." Read the full interview at The Atlantic.