Trump: People tired of COVID, ‘hearing Fauci and all these idiots’

President Donald Trump reportedly said Monday morning that people are tired of hearing about the coronavirus, as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci "and all these idiots.“

Speaking on a conference call with campaign staffers, Trump also reportedly said “if you listened to” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “we’d have 700,000, 800,000 deaths” from the coronavirus.

According to The Associated Press, Trump also called Fauci a “disaster” but said he’d create bigger issues for himself if he fired the doctor, who is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

On Friday, data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. recorded more than 8 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Nearly 220,000 Americans have died from the disease the virus causes.

On Monday, the global total of confirmed cases passed 40 million.

Fauci, in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, said he was not surprised that Trump contracted the virus after he held large events with few face coverings. Fauci also objected to the president’s campaign using his words in a campaign ad.

“I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask,” Fauci said of the president.

Trump held his call with campaign staffers from Las Vegas, where he was on the third day of a western campaign swing. He was to hold Arizona rallies in Prescott and Tucson later in the day before returning to the White House.

Last week, Fauci said Americans would be wise to limit any planned Thanksgiving travel plans this year, due to risks of spreading the coronavirus.

“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS Evening News on Wednesday, adding his children will not visit him for Thanksgiving.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already recommending trick-or-treaters stay at home this year, as many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for “spreading” the coronavirus.

On Thursday, Fauci also criticized a declaration by a group of scientists supporting the concept of “herd immunity,” which the White House is using to bolster a push to reopen schools and businesses.

Fauci says backing herd immunity — the idea that a disease will stop spreading once nearly everybody has contracted it — is “total nonsense.”

“If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and death,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “So I think that we’ve just got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.”

Trump and Democratic White House nominee Joe Biden will meet in their second debate Thursday, less than two weeks from the nation’s historic Nov. 3 election, and the coronavirus is one of six confirmed topics of discussion, according to the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

While Biden is sticking to his cautious approach with small events focused more on adhering to the CDC’s social distancing recommendations, Trump is drawing huge crowds reminiscent of 2016′s final days.

Two weeks before Election Day, coronavirus infections are surging to their highest levels since July. At least 10 states reported their highest single-day number of infections over the weekend, and some health experts are predicting the possibility of 100,000 daily U.S. infections soon.

In Carson City, Nev., Trump addressed thousands of supporters who sat elbow to elbow, cheering him and booing Biden and the press. The Republican president warned a Biden election would lead to further lockdowns and appeared to mock Biden for saying he would listen to scientists.

“He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression,” Trump said.

Biden, meanwhile, was in Delaware for several days of preparation ahead of Thursday’s final presidential debate. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, was returning to the campaign trail after several days in Washington after a close adviser tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump raked in $12 million during a fundraiser Sunday afternoon at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which also featured a performance by the Beach Boys. But over the past four months, Biden has raised over $1 billion, a massive amount of money that has eclipsed Trump’s once-overwhelming cash advantage.

That’s become apparent in advertising, where Biden and his Democratic allies are on pace to spend twice as much as Trump and the Republicans in the closing days of the race, according to data from the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.

Though Trump has pulled back from advertising in Midwestern states that secured his 2016 win, he’s invested heavily elsewhere, including North Carolina, where he is on pace to slightly outspend Biden in the days ahead.