United States President Donald Trump has amplified his criticism of Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
Trump retweeted several tweets that attacked the credibility of Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force.
Later, Trump appeared to back away from his criticism of Fauci, saying, "I get along with him very well" and even appearing envious of his widespread approval rating.
"He's got a very good approval rating, and I like that," Trump said, adding that Fauci and White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx work for him.
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"And yet they're highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That's all."
Fauci has become an off-and-on target of Trump and some of his White House aides and outside allies, who disagreed with the doctor's early recommendation to shut down the economy as a way to slow the virus, which is surging again in parts of the country, mostly in the South and West.
Trump, in recent interviews, has described Fauci as "a bit of an alarmist" and accused him of making "mistakes" in his coronavirus guidance. But Trump also says he gets along with the longtime head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci said said that he will deal with the attacks by keeping his head down and doing his job. He also backed the conclusions of the FDA and others about hydroxychloroquine and Covid-19.
Asked if he can do his job while Trump publicly questions his credibility, Fauci said the stakes are too high not to stay involved.
"We're in the middle of a crisis with regard to an epidemic, a pandemic. This is what I do," Fauci said on ABC. "This is what I've been trained for my entire professional life and I'll continue to do it."