White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hasn't thought about resigning despite criticism in recent days from President Donald Trump and other administration officials about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said he told the White House he found it "bizarre" and thought the administration made a "big mistake," but his job is too critical to quit now, according to an interview in "The Atlantic" magazine published Wednesday. Almost 3.5 million Americans have contracted Covid-19 so far and at least 136,400 have died from the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
"I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions," he said, according to an edited transcript of the interview. "I just want to do my job. I'm really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I'm going to keep doing it."
Fauci was appointed director of NIAID in 1984 and has worked under six U.S. presidents.
The comment by Fauci came amid claims that the White House is seeking to discredit the top infectious disease expert as the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the U.S. In a scathing op-ed published Tuesday, Trump's trade advisor Peter Navarro criticized Fauci, saying he "has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on."
The president has also been critical of Fauci recently. During an interview Thursday with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump said, "Dr. Fauci's a nice man, but he's made a lot of mistakes.
"They've been wrong about a lot of things, including face masks," he said. "Maybe they're wrong, maybe not. A lot of them said don't wear a mask, don't wear a mask. Now they're saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes."
Fauci told "The Atlantic" he doesn't know why he's been criticized recently, adding that he stands by everything he said about the pandemic.
"Contextually, at the time I said it, it was absolutely true … [The White House document] is totally wrong. It's nonsense. It's completely wrong. The whole thing is wrong. The whole thing is incorrect," he said.