Coronavirus

'Don't tell anybody': Donald Trump hints that he wants Anthony Fauci fired after the election

Dr Anthony Fauci has been leading the US response to COVID-19. Source: AP

The future of infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci who is leading the US coronavirus response could be in doubt if President Donald Trump is re-elected.

US President Donald Trump suggested early on Monday that he might seek to fire a highly respected member of his coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, after the doctor further criticised Mr Trump's handling of the virus.

Dr Fauci, the country's leading infectious-disease expert who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has taken issue with Mr Trump's repeated assertions that the US fight against the virus was "rounding the turn" when in fact tens of thousands of people were being infected daily.

“We're in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation," Dr Fauci told The Washington Post on Friday.

"All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors," he said. 

"You could not possibly be positioned more poorly."

When President Trump defended his handling of the virus at a late-night campaign rally at Opa-Locka airport in the Miami area, a "Fire Fauci" chant broke out.

In response to the chant, President Trump said: "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election."

Mr Fauci has been one of the most popular health experts in the United States, a fact that Mr Trump has cited in the past.

In response to the firing suggestion, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told a drive-in rally that he had a better idea.

"Elect me, and I'm going to hire Dr Fauci, and we're going to fire Donald Trump," Mr Biden said in Cleveland.

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