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Italian virus hospital offers Fauci work if Trump fires him

ROME (AP) — The scientific director of Italy’s leading infectious disease hospital says he'd like to hire Dr. Anthony Fauci should President Donald Trump remove him from the White House coronavirus task force.

Dr. Giuseppe Ippolito of Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital wrote a letter released Wednesday to the Italian president and other officials, saying Italy should welcome Fauci with open arms. The country is the European epicenter of the pandemic, and Spallanzani treated Italy's first patients.

Ippolito praised Fauci’s expertise, experience, leadership and “generous and selfless help” to Spallanzani and other hospitals around the world -- “a generosity that we like to associate (with) his Italian heritage, always remembered with pride.”

He said removing Fauci from the U.S. task force “would be disastrous news not only for the United States, but for the whole international community.” Speculation about Fauci’s fate swirled over the weekend after he told CNN that the U.S. would have “obviously” saved lives if virus mitigation efforts had begun earlier. Trump responded by reposting a tweet that included the line: “Time to #FireFauci.”

On Monday, Trump insisted Fauci’s job was safe, but Republicans close to the White House say the president has complained about Fauci's positive media attention and has sought to leave him out of task force briefings.

Ippolito said Italy would gladly welcome Fauci's expertise. He cited his work on the SARS, HIV, Ebola and Zika outbreaks, and praised his training of a generation of doctors and nurses. Fauci's work, Ippolito wrote, “has saved the lives of millions of women, men and children in the United States and all over the world."

“We need Anthony Fauci’s leadership, in the US or elsewhere, to tackle the challenges this pandemic pose to our health systems," Ippolito wrote. “Our Institute would be honored to have Anthony as advisor and we hope that also the Italian Government and the Lazio Region could benefit (from) his great vision and expertise.”

The letter was addressed to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, with copies sent to the Italian premier, health minister, foreign minister, as well as local regional authorities. The Spallanzani hospital issued the letter in both Italian and English and sent it to news media along with a “New Yorker" profile of Fauci.

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