U.S. President Donald Trump seems peeved that the American public likes and trusts his coronavirus infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, more than him.
"It’s interesting. He’s got a very good approval rating, and I like that. It’s good," Trump said Tuesday during one of his occasional coronavirus news briefings at the White House.
"Because, remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us,” the U.S. leader said. “We could’ve gotten other people. We could’ve gotten somebody else. It didn't have to be Dr. Fauci. He's working with our administration, and for the most part, we've done pretty much what he and others ... recommended."
But Trump pondered, "He’s got this high approval rating, so why don’t I have a high approval rating ... with respect to the virus?
"It sort of is curious," Trump said. "A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. [Deborah] Birx, also highly thought of, and yet they're highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all," he said.
Poll after poll in the U.S. has shown those surveyed mostly trust Fauci’s wear-a-face-mask message to the American public, while giving Trump low marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has waffled on the importance of the coronavirus, saying earlier this year it would not amount to much and soon would be under control, before recently saying, as the U.S. death toll rose to a world high of nearly 150,000, that the pandemic in the U.S. would get worse before it got better.
A Quinnipiac University poll in mid-July, similar to other surveys, showed that 67% of those questioned say they do not trust Trump’s information on the virus, compared to 65% who say they believe the information Fauci delivers.
According to the New York Times, the president was so bothered by Fauci being asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the much-delayed start of the baseball season in Washington last week that he announced he would be throwing out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game next month, even though plans had not been finalized. Then a couple of days later, Trump backtracked, saying he would throw out a first pitch at a Yankees game later in the abbreviated season.
Trump has said he has a good relationship with Fauci but also has said Fauci has made mistakes in his comments on the virus. Earlier this week, Trump retweeted a message saying Fauci "has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard."
For his part, Fauci says he has not misled the public.
“I don't tweet. I don't even read them, so I don't really want to go there,” Fauci said. “I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it's very important.”