Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, contradicted a report many claimed was a "blockbuster" indictment against President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci made the comments while being interviewed by John Roberts on Fox News Wednesday.
"I didn't get any sense that he was distorting anything. In my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had," Fauci said to Roberts.
Journalist Bob Woodward made the claim that the president had downplayed the threat of the coronavirus pandemic publicly, but that privately he understood the danger that later manifested in more than 180,000 deaths.
Woodward's report was based on recorded conversations he had with the president in February and March where he appeared to have much more of a grave assessment of the pandemic than in public.
"I wanted to, I always wanted to play it down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic," said the president on recorded tapes to Woodward in March.
Fauci rejected the characterization of Trump's comments by his critics.
"Was it your sense that this was very serious but that the public messaging was a little bit different?" asked Roberts.
"Um, you know, John, I really am hesitant to comment on that because I don't know in what context we're asking that question. I mean, obviously when we would be speaking to the president we'd talk about the cold facts, he would get them," responded Fauci.
"You know, often he would want to, you know, make sure that the country didn't get down and out about things, I don't recall anything that was any kind of gross distortion in things that I spoke to him about," Fauci concluded. "I don't think he ever distorted things that I spoke to him about."
He went on to say he was comfortable with how the president presented the threat of the pandemic to the public, but added that he was a "small frame in the big picture of what goes on."
Fauci also went on to dispute comments attributed to him in Woodward's reporting.
Here's the video of Fauci's comments about Trump:
Dr. Fauci says President Trump did not distort the coronavirus information they discussed www.youtube.com