Oct 19, 2020 - Health

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander defends Fauci amid Trump attacks

Senator Lamar Alexander
Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, speaks during a committee hearing. Photo: Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) praised NIAID Director Anthony Fauci on Monday, tweeting that the U.S. would have fewer COVID-19 cases if more Americans "paid attention to his advice."

Between the lines: Alexander, who is retiring at the end of this year, did not specifically name Donald Trump, but his comments came less than 30 minutes after the president escalated his attacks on Fauci on Twitter.

  • Earlier on Monday, Trump called Fauci a "disaster" and claimed that "people are tired of COVID" on a campaign call, according to multiple reporters who listened in.
  • The president has previously accused Fauci of being a "Democrat," despite the top public health expert describing himself as apolitical.

What he's saying: "Dr. Fauci is one of our country’s most distinguished public servants. He has served 6 presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan," Alexander tweeted.

  • "If more Americans paid attention to his advice, we’d have fewer cases of COVID-19, & it would be safer to go back to school & back to work & out to eat."

Flashback: Alexander, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, told CNN in June that he believed "it would help if from time to time the president would wear [a mask] to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do."

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