Anthony Fauci: Volcanic Donald Trump Screamed F-Bombs, Then Said He Loved Me

Mandel Ngan/Getty
Mandel Ngan/Getty

Donald Trump shouted foul-mouthed abuse at Anthony Fauci, then lurched into telling him he loved him—and claimed he would win the 2020 election in a “fucking landslide,” the top medical adviser reveals in his new memoir.

In the eagerly awaited book, Fauci describes conversations with Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic in which the then-president would “announce that he loved me and then scream at me on the phone.”

“Let’s just say, I found this to be out of the ordinary,” Fauci writes, of conversations peppered with f-bombs, including the claim Fauci had cost the U.S. economy “one trillion fucking dollars.”

The book, On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service, will be published in the U.S. next week—as Trump and President Joe Biden’s rematch gathers pace. The Daily Beast obtained a copy.

On the page, Fauci describes interactions with Trump as the administration wrestled with the president’s opposition to public health measures including masking; Trump’s desire to reopen the country; his indulgence of advisers with dubious qualifications pushing untested treatments; his bizarre suggestion that bleach might kill the virus; and, ultimately, his own hospitalization with COVID.

Fauci, the veteran director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), became the face of the pandemic and tried to navigate between Trump’s erratic statements and his own medical expertise. He then became Biden’s chief medical adviser and retired in 2022. In March last year, the New York Post reported that Fauci sold his memoir for “just under $5 million.” Crown Publishing, a Penguin Random House imprint, said that figure was inaccurate.

In 2020, within weeks of the first COVID cases, Fauci became a Republican punching bag. Enemies saw him as an avatar of the medical establishment when he relentlessly urged COVID precautions, starting with social distancing, moving to lockdowns, then masking and vaccines.

He told Congress this month that he, his wife, and his adult daughter were the subjects of death threats. During the pandemic he received a full-scale security detail.

An anti-Fauci protester in New York City.

Anti-Fauci demonstrators protest in New York City in June 2021.

Jeenah Moon/Getty

In his book, Fauci reports his last conversation with Trump, in which Trump said he would win re-election “by a fucking landslide” against Biden, whom he deemed “fucking stupid.”

Now 83, Fauci writes of a life that took him from an apartment above his father’s pharmacy in Brooklyn, New York, to the White House and the world stage. As NIAID director, he worked for every president from Ronald Reagan to Biden.

Fauci was on the front line of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, worked against Ebola, and ultimately became the chief scientific face of the U.S. attempt to combat COVID, which has now killed nearly 1.2 million Americans.

Such work meant dealing with a chaotic administration and a volatile president who stoked virulent right-wing anger over public health measures including masking, social distancing, and ultimately vaccine mandates.

With Trump running for the White House again, Fauci’s descriptions of their interactions—and his work with a Biden administration he says was a “parallel universe” in terms of focus on defeating COVID—will be eagerly read on both sides of the aisle.

Describing the frightening early days of the pandemic, as large swathes of U.S. society were shut down and economic and physical damage mounted, Fauci writes of his “first experience [of] the brunt of the president’s rage.”

“On the evening of June 3 [2020], my cell phone rang,” Fauci writes, “and the caller—the president—started screaming at me.”

Trump was angered by Fauci telling a journalist that immunity to coronaviruses was “usually six months to a year,” meaning that when a COVID-19 vaccine was found, booster shots would likely be needed.

Fauci points out that this was common practice for viruses including the flu but also that his remark was “wrongly reported on Twitter and in some media outlets as the Covid vaccine protecting people only for a very short time.”

Trump did not like what he heard.

“It was quite a phone call,” Fauci writes. “The president was irate, saying that I could not keep doing this to him. He said he loved me, but the country was in trouble, and I was making it worse.

“He added that the stock market went up only six hundred points in response to the positive phase 1 vaccine news and it should have gone up a thousand points and so I cost the country ‘one trillion fucking dollars.’

“I have a pretty thick skin,” Fauci writes, “but getting yelled at by the president of the United States, no matter how much he tells you that he loves you, is not fun.”

Fauci may risk angering Trump again not just by detailing the conversation but by saying Trump told him, via an intermediary, he was sorry. Trump is notoriously apology averse.

Fauci says he was “mystified” but “resolved not to let [the call] throw me off my game.”

Trump, however, “seemed to feel competitive” with Fauci, in terms of public profile and acceptance.

Eventually, Fauci describes “what turned out to be my last conversation with President Trump.”

At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, Fauci writes, he was at home when Trump called from Air Force One.

“Tony,” Trump said, “I really like you, and you know that, but what the fuck are you doing? You really need to be positive. You constantly drop bombs on me.”

Two days before Election Day, Trump was upset about Fauci telling The Washington Post that the U.S. was still “in for a whole lot of hurt.” The COVID case count was 9 million, with 230,000 dead.

“Everybody wants me to fire you,” Trump said. “But I am not going to fire you, you have too illustrious a career, but you have to be positive. The country cannot stay locked down.

“You have to give them hope… I like you, but so many people—not only in the White House, but throughout the country—hate you because of what you are doing.”

In his book, Fauci describes threats including the day he opened an envelope and was covered in white powder, leading to a terrifying wait before the all clear.

Trump was fixated on winning a second term. On Nov. 1, he continued: “I am going to win this election by a fucking landslide. Just wait and see. I always did things my way. And I always win, no matter what all these other fucking people think. And that fucker Biden. He is so fucking stupid. I am going to kick his fucking ass in this election.”

Trump eventually ended the 15-minute rant by saying, “Okay, Tony, I will see you in a couple of days. Take care.”

“Love me, love me not,” Fauci writes, dryly.

Anthony Fauci listens to Donald Trump speaking.

Anthony Fauci listens with Dr. Deborah Birx as Donald Trump speaks during a briefing, in March 2020.

The Washington Post/Getty

Three days later, Trump lost the election to Biden—but did not concede. Despite still being in office he did not speak to Fauci again.

Describing meetings with Biden, the president-elect, Fauci writes of “a no-nonsense person guided by integrity and empathy” who “clearly was in charge” and would eventually return the White House “to its pre-Trump normal,” despite deepening political schisms in the U.S. at large.

On Dec. 22, 2020, as Biden prepared to become president, Fauci went on TV—to receive the first COVID vaccine.

“An alcohol swab, a little pinch as the needle went in, a Band-Aid and it was done,” he writes. “It was two days before my eightieth birthday, and the knowledge millions of Americans would soon be vaccinated as I just had been was the best gift I could possibly imagine.”

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