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President Trump questioned at a briefing on Tuesday why Anthony Fauci has a much higher approval rating than him, despite the fact that Fauci serves on the White House coronavirus task force and has helped shape the administration's policies.

The big picture: 62% of voters in a recent Morning Consult/Politico poll rated Fauci’s handling of the coronavirus "excellent” or "good," compared to 36% who say the same about Trump.

  • The drop in the president's approval comes as White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and other officials have sought to discredit Fauci for being "wrong" about things in the early days of the pandemic — criticisms that Trump has also echoed.
  • On Monday night, Trump retweeted a number of critical comments about Fauci, including one that claimed he has "misled the American public."

What he's saying: "He's got a very good approval rating. I like that, it's good. Because remember, he's working for this administration. He's working with us," Trump told reporters about Fauci.

  • "We could have gotten other people. We could have gotten somebody else. It didn't have to be Dr. Fauci. He's working with our administration and for the most part, we've done pretty much what he and Dr. Birx and others, who are terrific, recommended."
  • "And he's got this high approval rating. So why don't I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration, with respect to the virus? We should have a very high — because what we have done in terms of — we're just reading off about the masks and the gowns and the ventilators and numbers that nobody's seen."
  • "So it sort of is curious. A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, very highly thought of. And yet they're highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.

Go deeper: Fauci pushes back on critical Trump retweets

Go deeper

Oct 24, 2020 - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began

Expand chart
COVID Tracking Project

The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic started, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

By the numbers: Friday's total surpassed the U.S.'s previous record set on July 17 when 76,842 cases were recorded. 

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.