(CNN) – President Donald Trump expressed frustration Wednesday with Dr. Anthony Fauci after the country’s leading infectious disease specialist warned the day before of reopening of schools and businesses too quickly.
“I was surprised by his response, actually,” Trump said when asked about Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warnings during televised congressional testimony that reopening states too quickly could have dire consequences.
“It’s just, for me, it’s not an acceptable response, especially when it comes to schools,” Trump said.
During an appearance before lawmakers Tuesday, Fauci warned that students looking to return to campus in the fall would likely not have a coronavirus vaccine available.
Fauci suggested instead that schools open cautiously, saying that in some places schools should remain closed in the fall. He said that if states reopen before meeting the criteria set by the Trump administration, they risk retaliation for the outbreak.
“He wants to play (with) all the factors in the equation,” Trump said of Fauci on Wednesday during a meeting with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota.
Trump has insisted in recent weeks that schools will reopen in the fall, despite schools and universities saying otherwise.
“We are opening our country. People want it to be open. Schools are going to be open, ”Trump said Wednesday in the Cabinet Room.
Trump’s relationship with Fauci has been closely scrutinized during the coronavirus outbreak because it sometimes appears to contradict or correct the President during public appearances.
Fauci said during his testimony that his relationship with Trump is not controversial, but the president has been angered in cases where he appears to disagree with the leading infectious disease expert.
READ: 7 key moments of the Fauci Senate hearing
Last month, Trump retweeted a message calling for Fauci to be fired, but then said he was not looking to fire him.
Still, many of Trump’s allies have publicly criticized Fauci, regarding him as an unelected bureaucrat with undue influence on how and when the nation will return to normal.
Fauci tried to dispel that idea during his hearing on Tuesday, saying he only offers the president public health advice and that it does not influence the economy.
While the president privately complained about some of Fauci’s public comments, including his warning about an unproven treatment for coronavirus, his complaints remained largely out of public view until Wednesday.
But even his comments during the meeting with the governors did not reach absolute anger. Instead, Trump said he believed universities should be aggressive in reopening because young people have not shown severe symptoms of the disease at the same rate as older people.
“These are young students. They are in great shape, ”he said, suggesting that the benefits outweigh the risks for higher education institutions.
“Will something happen? Maybe, ”said Trump. “You can drive to school and some bad things can also happen.”