President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE joked Friday that he told Anthony FauciAnthony FauciUS hits 2 million coronavirus cases amid surges in some states Trump seeks to regain 2020 momentum with campaign rallies Overnight Health Care: Fauci underscores concerns about protests spreading coronavirus | COVID-19 surge in Texas sparks reopening fears | A day in the life of America’s contact tracing army MORE, a leading member of the administration’s coronavirus task force, that he should move to New York and run against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.) because he would “win easily.”
“I told Tony Fauci, why don’t you move to New York, run against AOC, you will win easily,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday afternoon, referring to Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York’s 14th District. “He’s decided that he’s not going to do that.”
The remarks prompted laughter from Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Both task force members were seated in the briefing room near the podium.
Trump added shortly thereafter, “I kid.”
President Trump: “I told Tony Fauci, I said, ‘Why don’t you move to New York, run against AOC.’… I kid.” pic.twitter.com/VllcNmZ1Rh
Click Here: gws giants guernsey 2019— The Hill (@thehill) April 10, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term congresswoman, emerged as a popular target for the president’s criticism after she was elected in 2018 when Democrats took control of the House.
Fauci has become a popular face of the White House coronavirus task force, often appearing on television to discuss the administration’s efforts. He has served at the helm of the NIAID for more than three decades.
Trump shared the anecdote in response to a question from CNN’s Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaAppeals court blocks White House from suspending reporter Flash bangs amid protests near White House heard in background of Trump address In the age of Trump, media bias comes into the spotlight MORE about whether he would listen to health experts if they told him that the country could not be opened up on May 1. The White House social distancing guidelines are due to expire on April 30 and Trump has appeared eager to loosen restrictions to help revive the U.S. economy.
“I listen to them about everything. I think they are actually surprised. I have great respect for these people, all of them, and others that are working for us,” Trump answered.
Pressed further, Trump said he would listen to his health experts but also said he understood the “other side of the argument” for opening up the country, referencing economic concerns related to the business closures and layoffs spurred by the coronavirus.
“I will certainly listen,” Trump said. “I understand the other side of the argument very well.”
“I will listen to them very carefully, though,” he added.