A board member of the World Health Organization on Saturday published a Twitter post calling supporters of President Donald Trump “future patients” while also sharing an anti-Trump video.
The post by Gualtiero Walter Ricciardi, a professor of public health at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Milan, Italy, and member of the executive board of WHO for Europe, left no doubt how he felt about Americans who back the president.
“triste: futuri pazienti che chiedono di licenziare chi vuole proteggere la loro salu,” he wrote, which Google Translate renders in English, “sad: future patients who ask to lay off those who want to protect their health.”
triste: futuri pazienti che chiedono di licenziare chi vuole proteggere la loro salute https://t.co/cHaNqvR5h1
— Walter Ricciardi (@WRicciardi) April 18, 2020
The tweet showed a video of protesters, many wearing pro-Trump gear, calling for the ouster of infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become one of the most prominent members of Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force. Fauci has advocated strict restrictions as the way of limiting the damage from the coronavirus.
Ricciardi also retweeted a Twitter post from anti-Trump filmmaker Michael Moore that showed a video in which a mannequin figure of Trump is repeatedly attacked and knocked over, with a reference to the upcoming presidential election as a time for Moore’s celebration to begin.
As a result, former Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini fired off a salvo at Ricciardi, tweeting “Non ne ha azzeccata una sul Virus e adesso insulta pure Trump! Che il governo lo cacci e chieda scusa agli Stati Uniti, che peraltro stanno mandando aiuti per decine di milioni di euro,” which The Gateway Pundit translated as “(Ricciardi) is insulting President Trump. Italian Government must dismiss him and apologize to the USA, which is helping Italy with millions of euros.”
Non ne ha azzeccata una sul Virus e adesso insulta pure Trump!
Che il governo lo cacci e chieda scusa agli Stati Uniti, che peraltro stanno mandando aiuti per decine di milioni di euro. pic.twitter.com/zP5ut6EgVy
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) April 19, 2020
Although Ricciardi later deleted the retweet, professor Enzo Penetta, founder of the conservative Italian website Critica Scientifica, website tweeted, in Italian, “Anche Ricciardi si cimenta nella terza legge. In più il ‘vergognati’ prende più like.” Google Translate renders that as, “Ricciardi also ventures into the third law. In addition, the ‘shameful’ takes more likes.”
Ricciardi made a response before deleting the tweet — apparently saying the post was being taken too literally and he was merely commenting sarcastically on how much Trump is disliked. He also appeared to emphasize that he doesn’t condone violence — even if it’s just against a puppet.
“questo retweet e sbagliato il senso era guardate quanto è amato (beloved) Ma nessun messagio equivoco puo essere dato su gesti violenti anche se verso un pupazzo. Procedo a cancellarlo,” he tweeted, which translates to, “this retweet is wrong the sense was look how much he is loved (beloved) But no equivocal message can be given on violent gestures even if towards a puppet. I proceed to delete it.”
— Enzo Pennetta (@CriticaScient) April 19, 2020
Trump has shown his disdain for the WHO in recent days, and on Wednesday froze U.S. funding to the group because of its actions in the early days of the coronavirus epidemic.
Ricciardi has criticized Trump in the past, according to Britain’s The Independent. When he quit his post at Italy’s National Institute of Health in January 2019, he likened Italian government ministers attitudes toward immigrants to Trump’s, The Independent reported.
“Saying repeatedly that migrants carry diseases is groundless and it forces self-censorship in order not to contradict the political line,” he said after being forced out of his former post as Italy’s chief health minister. “Yet these are key issues for health prevention and public health.”
“All this reminds me of Donald Trump’s recommendation to the National Institutes of Health Institute to no longer use the term ‘evidence-based’,” he said. “It’s an approach taken by populists, who have great difficulty in interacting with science.”
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