Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said coronavirus pandemic issues would be much easier to deal with if current federal government employees like himself were able to communicate with President-elect Joe Biden‘s transition team.
Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday that an easing of the tense transition between President Donald Trump‘s administration and Biden’s “would be better if we could start working with them” immediately.
“Just as a public health measure, you think it would be a good idea if your team would be able to work with the Biden-Harris transition team right now just in terms of what’s best for the public health of the American people?” Tapper asked Fauci on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Of course, Jake, that’s obvious, of course, it would be better if we could start working with them,” Fauci replied, also noting Trump has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in months. He highlighted how he’s been through numerous transitions of power given he’s served under six different presidents as an infectious disease expert.
Fauci stressed the importance of a “smooth handing over of information, it’s almost like passing a baton in a race. You don’t want to just stop and give it to somebody you want to essentially keep going and that’s what transition is. It certainly would make things go more smoothly if we could do that.”
The president has focused nearly every mention of COVID-19 on his administration’s Operation Warp Speed effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine. He announced Friday at the White House they are set to make 20 million vaccines available by mid-December.
Trump made clear Sunday in tweets he would continue fighting the November 3 election results as Biden chief of staff Ronald Klain told NBC News’ Meet the Press Sunday that the president-elect is unable to contact Fauci and other Coronavirus Task Force members until his election is certified in mid-December.
“Biden’s going to become president in the midst of an ongoing crisis. … Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops,” Klain said.
Trump has repeatedly stated is absolutely opposed to any form of a federally-imposed shut down of businesses in order to curb rising coronavirus infection levels nationwide this past week.
“Of course, we’re not going to lock down this country again,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News Saturday morning.
Newsweek reached out to both the White House and the NIAID for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.
Last month, Trump personally rejected reports that Fauci is not “allowed to do television” appearances prior to the election. Trump tweeted on October 19 that Fauci “seems to get more airtime than anybody.”