Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984 and a member of President Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, said in an interview on Wednesday that he’d be happy to continue on as an adviser to President-elect Joe Biden if he was asked to do so.
Fauci, who was being interviewed on C-SPAN about the matter, was asked if he’d serve on a similar coronavirus task force set up by Biden, once he assumes office in January.
“Of course, yes. The answer is absolutely,” the infectious diseases expert said.
Fauci added that he has been in contact with Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain. The two, however, have not discussed the “nuts and bolts” of what the next president’s plans would be regarding a response to the pandemic when he occupies the White House.
Fauci applauded the decision by the Trump administration this week to finally allow the transition process to begin to allow for Biden’s entrance into office.
“Obviously, soon, we will be getting the transition team and the task force to give them the information that would make their assuming the responsibilities easier and more efficient,” Fauci said.
Trump’s long refusal to acknowledge the outcome of the presidential race, and to allow the transition process to begin, had kept Biden’s team from being involved in discussions regarding a number of important issues, including how the eventual rollout of a vaccine for coronavirus was being planned. In an interview last week, Fauci explained that it was imperative for the Trump administration to share that info with Biden.
“I’ve been through five transitions; I can say that transitions are extremely important to the smooth continuity of whatever you’re doing,” Fauci said at the time.
Fauci’s inclusion in the Biden White House would likely be welcomed by most Americans, as the NIAID director is widely regarded as trustworthy.
In a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, 62 percent of Americans rated Fauci’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic response as “excellent” or “good.” Another 17 percent said it was “fair,” while only 13 percent described Fauci’s work on the virus as “poor.”
The president, however, didn’t fare as well as Fauci in people’s views on his handling of the response to the pandemic. Only 38 percent of Americans described Trump’s leadership on COVID-19 as “excellent” or “good,” with 49 percent saying his performance was “poor.” Ten percent described his job on coronavirus as “fair.”
The poll also found that a majority in the U.S. believe Biden will do a better job overall in dealing with the crisis. Fifty-five percent of Americans said that Biden will handle the pandemic better than Trump will, while only 33 percent said Trump would do a better job.