In the 1998 Nora Ephron film You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly begs the question, “What is it with men and The Godfather?” (via The Baltimore Sun). And as it turns out, even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the man some have called “The Last American Hero” (via The Nation), isn’t immune to the film’s charms.
In response to recent criticisms lobbied at him by President Trump, Dr. Fauci echoed The Godfather’s Michael Corleone, telling Southern California radio station KNX1070 on Monday, “…it’s like in The Godfather: Nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned” (via The New York Post). Dr. Fauci even went so far as to do his best impression of Michael Corleone, as portrayed by Al Pacino in the 1978 classic.
Unfortunately, given the less than amicable relationship between President Trump and Dr. Fauci, Trump is seemingly yet to make him “an offer he can’t refuse.”
Trump calls Dr. Fauci both "a nice guy" and "a disaster"
Trump’s verbal attacks on Dr. Fauci come as the latest in a long series of dustups between the two. Fauci’s Godfather quote came in response to reports that on Monday Trump told campaign staff that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people that have gotten it wrong” (via The New York Post). Trump continued, calling Fauci both “a nice guy” and a “disaster,” saying that he’s “been here for 500 years.”
Upon hearing this, Dr. Fauci reiterated the message behind The Godfather quote once again, emphasizing his commitment to protecting the United States population from COVID-19.
“I would prefer not to comment on that and just get on with what we are really trying to do and what we are trying to do is to protect the health and welfare and safety of the American people predominantly, and ultimately, of the world,” Dr. Fauci said.
“We are seeing an uptick in cases — higher than they’ve ever been. Many, many states that had been doing reasonably well are now showing upticks, that’s what we should be concentrating on,” Fauci said.
The Dr. Fauci-Trump Timeline
The discord between Dr. Fauci and President Trump began early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 20, after Trump declared that the anti-Malaria drug hydroxychloroquine would be a “game-changer,” Dr. Fauci said signs that the drug were effective in these instances were “purely anecdotal” (via ABC News).
As cases climbed, tensions between Dr. Fauci and Trump grew, particularly as Trump continued to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19. On June 23, with 2,329,637 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 121,209 COVID-19 deaths, Trump tweeted that “Coronavirus deaths are way down” and that the “mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world,” while Dr. Fauci encouraged lawmakers to exercise caution in the face of a “disturbing surge.”
This discord reached somewhat of a fever pitch upon, when asked, Dr. Fauci said on 60 Minutes that he was absolutely not surprised that Trump himself came down with COVID-19 following the White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court justice nomination, prompting Trump to call Dr. Fauci “a disaster” (via The New York Post). However, Trump insisted on Tuesday during a call to Fox and Friends that he is not “at odds” with Dr. Fauci.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci has never been more popular, being tapped to throw out the opening pitch at baseball games (via BBC News) and being played – per his request – by Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live (via The Hollywood Reporter).
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