In case you thought this might have just been a flight of fancy on stage, according to one reporter I spoke to recently, Steve Bannon has been saying that Fauci is likely to be fired should Trump win re-election. Trump also recently signed an executive order that would make it easier for him to fire career civil servants like Fauci.

So there’s no reason to take the president’s remarks as one of those oh-so-famous jokes he likes to pretend he told anytime he makes admissions against interest.

Instead the press must dedicate the remainder of the campaign to getting a clear answer from the president on the most important issue facing voters bar none: pandemic management. Does he in fact plan to fire Dr. Fauci? And if so, does that mean he will pursue a strategy of herd immunity, which Fauci has rejected, or will there be some other as-yet-unproduced plan? These crucial questions should dominate the next few days—in addition, of course, to continuing to hold the president and his campaign to account for their undemocratic and un-American attempts to undermine the vote count.