The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has accepted the top medical position under the Biden administration. He will serve as chief medical adviser and be a part of Biden’s COVID-19 response team after accepting Biden’s offer proposed on December 3.

“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden told CNN.

Although Dr. Fauci has served under a total of six administrations, advising former Presidents on other global health issues including the HIV/AIDS crisis, the current administration has made strides to undermine his expertise. President Trump has discredited Fauci on several occasions, calling the medical expert “a disaster” and claimed that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” talk about the virus. Trump’s claims about Fauci have made some Americans wary of trusting his information, despite staggering COVID-19 mortality rates and infection numbers.

Fauci, who is also the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says that when Biden asked him to keep his position, he “said yes right on the spot.” 

Fauci will be meeting with the Biden transition team via Zoom to discuss COVID-19 response, vaccinations, and other pandemic related topics. He said to CBS, “I’m very pleased that today we’re having the first discussion about several things, vaccinations and things like that.”

The Biden team is geared up to be a stark contrast from the current Trump administration in regards to their COVID-19 response, which Biden says is his priority after his January 21st inauguration. After more than 237,000 Americans have died due to the virus, this meeting with Biden and Fauci comes as the daily death toll is close to 9/11 numbers.

Members of the Biden team emphasize their confidence in Fauci as the lead medical advisor, as incoming White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, tweeted, “there are few public servants in our history who have served as long and as well and with as much distinction as Dr. Tony Fauci.”