Donald Trump Says He Didn't Listen to Dr. Fauci 'Too Much,' Did 'Opposite' of His Advice

Donald Trump has said he didn't pay much attention to advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci while making decisions about COVID, again characterizing the infectious disease expert as unqualified due to comments made early in the pandemic.

Speaking on Fox News' The Ingraham Angle show Thursday, the former U.S. president rehashed talking points from his time in office and said: "If you really look, I didn't listen to him too much because I was doing the opposite of what he was saying."

Trump said: "I got along with him fine but I didn't listen to him too much because he said dont close it up to China, and I did very early, don't close it up to Europe, we had the problem with Italy and France... I closed it up to Europe very very early."

Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Biden, has previously said his views about COVID evolved as experts learned more about it and federal guidelines were updated.

In July 2020, Trump made the same argument, telling a Gray TV host he didn't listen to his experts and adding: "Dr. Fauci said don't wear masks and now he says wear them. And he said numerous things. Don't close off China. Don't ban China. I did it anyway."

"I didn't really listen to him too much because I was doing the opposite of what he was saying" -- Trump on Dr. Fauci pic.twitter.com/WxGaEOb3dZ

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 26, 2021

In January 2020, after the U.S. first recorded confirmed cases of the virus, Fauci had said a travel ban was "not a good idea at this time" and would create economic disruption, but he was speaking in support of the move by the end of January and into February.

On February 3, 2020, he told CNBC the restrictions were "good public health measures" that may help reduce the amount of potentially infected people entering the U.S.

Later, on February 28, 2020, Fauci said in an interview on Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight show: "We've done really quite well thus far, and I think one of the reasons why is that what we did early on was that travel restriction from China."

In March 2020, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported it was Fauci and other experts that recommended China travel restrictions to Trump.

Trump spent months playing down the severity of the disease and diluting health advice to wear face coverings by saying that he was unlikely to wear one.

Trump claimed the virus was receding and that the U.S. outbreak was "under control." He pushed untested medical treatments, and compared COVID to the flu.

This week, Trump also repeated an earlier talking point against Fauci that criticized his early comments suggesting that masks may not be effective.

Trump told Ingraham on Thursday: "[Fauci] said 'don't wear masks, masks don't work.' The way I look at it, you saw him throw out the first pitch in Washington. He is a better pitcher than he is at what he does. But he is a great promoter, but I got along with him."

In March 2020, Fauci stated in an interview with 60 Minutes that based on the situation at the time there was "no reason to be walking around with a mask," noting that coverings may make people touch their face more often, and health care staff will need them.

His thinking had already changed by April as more evidence was emerging about how asymptomatic carriers could be spreading the disease. "We didn't realize the extent of asymptotic spread," Fauci told The Washington Post in July 2020.

In early April 2020, the CDC updated its guidelines, urging Americans to wear masks in public and especially in places where social distancing measures can't be maintained.

Fauci told Fox & Friends on April 3, 2020, that the changes were based on "recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing."

Trump did not mention Fauci's more recent comments about the virus or mask use this week, but told Ingraham: "Frankly, if he were known as somebody who was with me all the way, [Fauci] wouldn't be popular with the media. He is just a media creation."

Donald Trump wears a mask
Former President Donald Trump wears a mask as he tours a lab where they are making components for a potential vaccine at the Bioprocess Innovation Center at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, North Carolina on July 27, 2020. JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images