President Joe Biden praised Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday, joking that the doctor giving him advice on the coronavirus was actually the president.
“I’ve seen more of Dr. Fauci than I have my wife, we kid each other,” Biden joked with a chuckle. “They look, who’s president? Fauci. But all kidding aside, I sincerely mean it.”
Biden praised Fauci during a visit to the National Institutes of Health headquarters in Maryland, praising the federal scientists for their work on fighting the virus.
“If there’s any audience I should be standing for, it’s you,” he said to the employees and health officials in the room as they stood and applauded as he entered.
Biden spoke about increasing testing, expanding vaccinations and boosters, and wearing masks to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
“It’s a plan that I think should unite us,” Biden said. “I know COVID-19 has become divisive in this country. It’s become a political issue, which is a sad, sad, commentary. It shouldn’t be. But it has been.”
Only two cases of the omicron variant have been identified by health trackers in the United States, but Biden urged Americans to take it seriously and act to protect themselves.
Biden said his team of pollsters showed him data that 30 percent of “the non-vaxxers” who said that under no circumstances would get a vaccination are now saying they are going to get vaccinated because of the Omicron variant.
“I hope that’s true,” he said.
Biden praised Fauci as the doctor faces increasing criticism from Republicans after asserting during an interview it was “dangerous” to question him because “I represent science.”