President Donald Trump with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a coronavirus briefing at the White House in March.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he did not understand why he had a worse approval rating over his handling of the US’s coronavirus outbreak than Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“He’s got this high approval rating,” Trump said, “so why don’t I have a high approval rating with respect — and the administration — with respect to the virus?”

He questioned why health officials in his administration were “highly thought of, but nobody likes me.”

“It can only be my personality, that’s all,” he said.

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday questioned how Dr. Anthony Fauci could have a better approval rating than him over his handling of the US’s coronavirus outbreak.

Trump was asked at a news conference why he had retweeted posts accusing Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of misleading Americans about a virus treatment.

“I get along with him very well, and I agree with a lot of what he’s said,” Trump replied.

Trump added that Fauci’s popularity with the public should also be enjoyed by Trump and his administration.

“It’s interesting. He’s got a very good approval rating. And I like that. It’s good,” Trump said. “Because remember, he’s working for this administration. He’s working with us. We could have gotten other people.

Trump with Fauci at a briefing in April.

Associated Press

“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 others — 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?”

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He continued: “So it sort of is curious: A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx also, highly thought of. And yet they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me.

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“It can only be my personality, that’s all.”

The tweet that Trump retweeted claimed that Fauci had “misled the American public on many issues,” including the effectiveness of the drug hydroxychloroquine.

Trump has touted the drug as a potential COVID-19 treatment, but numerous medical authorities have debunked that it has any benefit against the coronavirus.

Read more: Drugs that prevent and treat the coronavirus are critical to stemming the pandemic. Here are the most promising treatments that could be ready by the fall.

Fauci responded to the tweets in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday. “I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,” he said.

Fauci removes his face mask before testifying at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 30.

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

“I don’t tweet. I don’t even read them. So I don’t really want to go there,” he said. “I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out, because I think it’s very important.”

Polls have found that Americans generally think Fauci is trustworthy in talking about the coronavirus. In a Quinnipiac University poll released on July 15, 65% of respondents said they trusted the information Fauci provided about the virus, while 30% said they trusted information from Trump.

And in a national poll by The New York Times and Siena College released in mid-June, 67% of respondents said they trusted Fauci to provide “accurate information” about the coronavirus, while 26% said they trusted Trump.

Trump has been rattled by his poor standing compared with Fauci, The Washington Post reported on July 11. Earlier this month, the White House circulated information meant to undermine Fauci and highlight what it described as his mistakes talking about the coronavirus.

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