Donald Trump was very busy on the last weekend before Election Day, hitting up five different states for five different rallies on Sunday alone. The last of those was in Opa-Locka, Fla., where he casually told the crowd that Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, probably won’t be hanging around the White House for much longer.
Trump didn’t outright say that he was for sure going to fire Fauci, but he came about as close as he could to saying it without actually doing so. Here’s how that portion of Trump’s speech, which lasted about an hour and ended after midnight locally, went down.
“I just left a country– I just left a state, a state that locked down. I left two of them. And they’re not happy about it, I’ll tell you right now,” Trump said, before floating a conspiracy theory that Democrats will stop caring about the COVID-19 pandemic immediately after the election.
“You know what’s gonna happen to them? On November 4th, the day after, they’re gonna say, ‘All right, we’ll open up now.’ That’s why they’re locking down. But we’re gonna have a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic.
“Without it, it’s rounding– I say it, it drives them crazy, it’s rounding the turn. Because all they want to do, you’re turning the news, COVID COVID COVID COVID COVID. Would like to talk about COVID. And then next time, here’s what happens. November 4th, you won’t hear too much about it. You won’t hear too much about it.”
At this point, with no direct prompt from Trump, the crowd began to chant “Fire Fauci.” Trump just soaked it in for about 15 seconds before he chimed in.
“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait ’til a little bit after the election,” Trump said to cheers.
“I appreciate the advice. I appreciate that. No, he’s been wrong a lot, he’s a nice man though. He’s been wrong on a lot. ‘Do not under any circumstances wear a mask,’ he said. ‘Do not close up to China,’ he said. And he said later on that Trump, President Trump, saved tens of thousands of lives because I closed early. But how about this? How about sleepy Joe?”
Presumably what set the crowd off this time was comments by Dr. Fauci from the past few days in which he said some pretty dire things about the state of America’s coronavirus response. The US is seeing record COVID infections right now, with just under 100,000 new reported cases on Friday. More than 230,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 infections.
You can watch the quoted portion of Trump’s Sunday night speech in Florida in the video embedded up at the top of this article.