KEY POINTS

  • Fauci said he was not surprised that Trump contracted the novel coronavirus following the Rose Garden event
  • The superspreader event was attended by more than 150 people with little mask-wearing or social distancing
  • More than a dozen attendees, including White House aides, tested positive for the virus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said he was not surprised President Donald Trump was infected with the novel coronavirus after he held the "superspreader" Rose Garden Event.

Fauci appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday, when he revealed that the images and footage taken of the event alarmed him.

"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.

"When I saw that on TV, I said, 'Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that's gotta be a problem.' And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event," he added.

The superspreader event was held Sept. 26 to celebrate Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to replace late-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Attendees were tested before the start of the event. However, only a few people wore masks. Many of the 150 attendees greeted each other with hugs and handshakes. Many also flouted social distancing rules by mingling and sitting close to one another. 

According to CNN, the White House also hosted other private gatherings where attendees were not required to wear masks or observe social distancing measures. 

Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just days after the Rose Garden ceremony. He announced his diagnosis Oct. 2 and was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received remdesivir and dexamethasone treatment. 

The president was released 72 hours later. He then hosted a mask-less photo-op on the White House balcony where he downplayed the virus' threat. 

"Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," he said. 

More than a dozen White House aides and Trump campaign staffers who attended the ceremony also tested positive for the coronavirus, including senior aide Hope Hicks, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, and North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis.

Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says he doesn't read President Donald Trump's criticisms Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says he doesn't read President Donald Trump's criticisms Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN