Fox News host Martha MacCallum questioned Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley on Monday about his boss’ decision to call his own top public health advisers idiots as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to mount around the country.
Earlier on Monday, President Donald Trump complained on a call with campaign staffers that Americans are “tired of” COVID-19 and of hearing the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.”
Trump called Fauci, who is a member of the White House coronavirus task force, a “disaster” as he sought to pass the buck on his poor handling of the health crisis ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
“The president went after Dr. Fauci today, talking about ‘the idiots’ who worked on the task force and all of that, saying that people have COVID fatigue, they’re tired of hearing about it,” MacCallum said, playing a video of Trump’s Democratic opponent Joe Biden slamming Trump for pretending the country is turning a corner when things are, in fact, getting worse.
“We are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations in 39 states across the country. What do you say to that?” MacCallum asked.
Gidley celebrated the “good news” that case mortality rates are low, attacked Biden and claimed Trump has listened to Fauci on everything except his decision to ban travelers from China.
MacCallum interrupted: “Do you think it’s a good idea for him to call him an idiot at this point?”
She pointed out that voters in swing states in the Midwest where hospitalizations are spiking may be feeling nervous. “So they thought they were out of the woods, but now they’re seeing what we saw here [in New York and New Jersey]. Not in the numbers, I should point out … but the hospitalization rates are increasing around those people as they get ready to vote,” MacCallum said.
Gidley said Fauci “isn’t the only doctor out there” and that there’s “competing science on various things.” He then called for the country to be opened back up, saying, “we know that we can do things safely if we wear masks, if we socially distance, if we use hand sanitizer and all the guidelines that the CDC talks about.”
Trump, who was recently infected with COVID-19 along with dozens of people in his orbit, has been holding campaign rallies for thousands of attendees around the country with no social distancing and few masks, despite pleas from local officials.
Watch the interview below. The discussion of COVID-19 begins around the 3-minute mark.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.