Joe Biden used President Trump’s hint that he would fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, one the top officials leading the U.S. pandemic response, to contrast the president’s handling of the pandemic with his own strategy.
Trump teased the possibility of firing Dr. Fauci at a Sunday rally in Florida, where some members of the crowd chanted “Fire Fauci!” The rally occurred after Dr. Fauci told the Washington Post that the U.S. “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” to handle a surge in coronavirus cases heading into the winter.
The president has clashed repeatedly with Dr. Fauci over coronavirus mitigation measures, including business closures and mask-wearing. It is not clear whether Trump has the legal authority to fire Dr. Fauci from his current position as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Last night Trump said he was going to fire Dr. Fauci. I’ve got a better idea. Elect me and I’m going to hire Dr. Fauci and we’re going to fire Donald Trump,” Biden said at a Monday rally in Cleveland. “I’m never going to wave the white flag of surrender. We’re going to beat this virus. We’re going to get it under control, I promise you.”
Biden also touted his strategy to combat coronavirus spread should he be elected, telling the crowd “we’re going to put into action a plan” involving “masking, social distancing, testing, tracing.” The Democratic nominee has said he would support a national mask mandate, a step endorsed by former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb. President Trump appointed Gottlieb to serve as FDA head from 2017 to 2019.