- The director of a top Italian research hospital said he would welcome Dr. Anthony Fauci with open arms if President Donald Trump were to fire him.
- Dr. Giuseppe Ippolito, the scientific director of Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital in Rome, told Associated Press that “the world needs Fauci.”
- According to the AP, Ippolito wrote a letter to Italian President Sergio Mattarella and other officials, in which he said that “Italy should welcome Fauci with open arms.” He also praised Fauci’s “generosity” and credited his Italian heritage.
- Trump and Fauci have expressed different approaches to tackling the coronavirus outbreak in the US, though both Fauci and the White House have dismissed reports of tension.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has been invited to work at one of Italy’s top hospitals if President Donald Trump ever fires him.
Dr. Giuseppe Ippolito, the scientific director of Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital in Rome, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Fauci’s knowledge of infectious disease was unparalleled. Lazzaro Spallanzani was the first research center in Europe to isolate the genomic sequence of COVID-19.
“There is no one else who has written the history of medicine and infectious diseases like Tony Fauci,” Ippolito told the AP. “There is no one else who has been able to write about, and to decrypt, the secrets of infectious diseases.”
Ippolito added that removing Fauci from his position in the US “would be disastrous news not only for the United States, but for the whole international community.”
“Politicians don’t like uncomfortable scientists, they always want servile scientists,” he told the AP. “The value of science instead is to say uncomfortable things too, in all contexts and always, because the principle is to defend science, not to please politicians.”
“The world needs Fauci,” he added. “America needs Fauci.”
According to the AP, Ippolito wrote a letter and sent it to Italian President Sergio Mattarella and other officials, in which he said that “Italy should welcome Fauci with open arms.” The letter also highlighted Fauci’s expertise and and “generous and selfless help” to hospitals around the world that Ippolito said reflected “a generosity that we like to associate (with) his Italian heritage, always remembered with pride.”
Ippolito’s eagerness to get Fauci on board at Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital follows reports that Trump and Fauci often differ over their approaches to tackling the coronavirus outbreak in the US and reopening the economy.
As of Wednesday evening, the US has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with over 637,000 confirmed cases and more than 30,000 deaths. Italy, a former virus hotspot, has the second-highest death toll in the world, with over 21,000 deaths.
Fauci often appears alongside President Donald Trump during the daily White House coronavirus press briefings, and he has maintained a practical, blunt demeanor that has clashed with Trump’s previously optimistic messaging regarding the outbreak’s outlook. Recently, Fauci pushed back on Trump’s public desire to lift coronavirus mitigation efforts by Easter, and he has said the US is likely to see “millions of cases” of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 deaths in the months to come.
Trump on Sunday evening retweeted a tweet from conservative conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine, which said: “Time to #FireFauci.”
The White House has refuted reports that Trump plans to fire Fauci, saying on Monday that speculation was “ridiculous.”
Fauci then went on C-SPAN and said that while Trump could fire him, it is unlikely that he would.
“I’m on the task force serving at his pleasure,” Fauci said. “He could remove me from the task force. I was with him for quite a while today – he has no intention of doing that.”