Dec 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Fauci to meet with Biden transition for first time

Fauci.
Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci will stay on at the National Institutes of Health and plans to meet virtually with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team for the first time Thursday to discuss the coronavirus response, he told CBS News.

Why it matters: Fauci, widely viewed as one of the country's most trusted voices on the coronavirus, said it will be the first "substantive" conversation between he and Biden's team. He said he has not yet spoken with Biden directly, but has connected several times with incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

What they're saying: "I'm going to be meeting with them today, by Zoom, by virtually. So today will be the first day where there will be substantive discussions about the transition between me and the Biden team," Fauci told CBS' "The Takeout" podcast in an episode airing on Friday.

  • "I'm very pleased that today we're having the first discussion about a number of things, vaccinations and things like that."

The big picture: Fauci, who had a tense relationship with President Trump and is a frequent target of attacks by his allies, said he would have liked to see the formal transition to the Biden administration begin sooner. It had been delayed because the Trump administration declined to grant so-called "ascertainment" of Biden's election victory until weeks after the election.

  • "Having served six administrations, I've been through five transitions, and I know that transitions are really important if you want to get a smooth handing over of the responsibility," Fauci said.
  • "I would have liked to have seen us getting involved with the team as early as we possibly can because we want the smooth transition to occur," Fauci said. "Everyone believes that a smooth transition is certainly better than no transition."
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