President-elect Joe Biden wants Dr. Anthony Fauci to serve as his “chief medical advisor” after he’s inaugurated next month, the incoming president told CNN Thursday afternoon, introducing a new title for the federal government’s top infectious disease expert and the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Biden spoke with Fauci on Thursday, and his transition team has met with the doctor in recent days, Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper, despite initial delays wrought by outgoing President Donald Trump’s reluctance to start the transition process.
The president-elect asked Fauci to stay on as director of NIAID, a role he’s held for 36 years and through six administrations, and he wants Fauci to keep participating in the White House’s Covid-19 response and serve as Biden’s chief medical advisor.
Biden did not explain what this “chief medical advisor” designation entails (his transition team did not respond to a request for comment).
It’s unclear whether Fauci accepted Biden’s offer, but he told McClatchy last month that he would “seriously consider” serving in a senior role in the Biden administration (NIAID did not respond to a request for comment).
“I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents,” Biden told Tapper. “And I asked him to be chief medical advisor for me as well, and be part of the Covid team.”
Chief medical advisor is not a standard position in most administrations, but Trump gave the same title to former White House physician Ronny Jackson in February 2019. Jackson, who has faced accusations of mishandling drug prescriptions, left the role less than a year later and successfully ran for a U.S. House seat in Texas last month.
Fauci has served on the White House coronavirus task force for months, advising the Trump administration on Covid-19 policy and publicly exhorting Americans to fo