'I think I'm pretty effective:' Fauci says he's staying in his job despite 'complicated' relationship with Trump

WASHINGTON — Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci batted away criticism from President Donald Trump and his allies and made it clear he did not think he would be fired despite he called a "complicated" relationship with the president. 

Trump's allies have publicly criticized Fauci and coronavirus task force head Dr. Deborah Birx, but sent mixed signals Wednesday after the White House backpedaled and disavowed an op-ed from trade adviser Peter Navarro including comments about Fauci, and Trump and Vice President Pence both defended Fauci. 

In an interview with CBS' Norah O'Donnell published in Instyle, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he did not "see any termination in the near future" since he viewed his career in terms of his energy and effectiveness.

"And right now, with all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective," he added. "I certainly am energetic. And I think everybody thinks I’m doing more than an outstanding job."

More: Fact check: Peter Navarro's claims about Dr. Anthony Fauci are misleading, lack context

More: Vice President Pence defends Fauci as White House sends mixed messages on health expert

Fauci said his relationship with Trump was "complicated" because "in some respects" he had a "very good" relationship with him and had a "collegial" relationship when they saw each other often, but now, " I don’t see him very much anymore."

Asked why he did not see Trump much any longer, Fauci said he thought the "tenor" of the White House had shifted to a focus on "reopening" the economy, leading to a focus on economic advisers."

Access to Trump, Fauci continued, was "through the vice president," who leads the coronavirus task force 

Fauci had been interviewed by O'Donnell in the magazine after O'Donnell said "CBS Evening News" had not been able to bring Fauci on air since April 15.

The doctor declined to comment on whether the Trump administration had been "muzzling" him, but when asked a similar question by The Atlantic in an interview published earlier Wednesday, Fauci replied "I can’t make a comment on that, but I think you know what the answer to that is."

More: Attacks on Fauci reflect Trump's problem of what to do about high-profile adviser with a penchant for straight talk

In a separate interview with Reuters published Wednesday, Fauci said he did not let the attacks on him bother him. 

"What we’re doing with vaccines, what we’re doing with therapeutics, what we’re doing with clinical trials is the real substance," Fauci said. 

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