In a searing interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tore into his public critics, claiming that criticizing Dr. Anthony Fauci is “attacking science.”
Fauci, one of the Biden White House’s chief COVID-19 advisors, assailed his critics on a range of issues, defending himself against criticism about his mask-wearing guidance, his involvement with social media, and allegations that he approved grants to a research lab in Wuhan, China, that is now being investigated for its involvement in the origins of COVID-19.
Fauci first blasted reports suggesting that he “colluded” with Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg to “create a narrative” surrounding COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. The email, used as evidence of Fauci and Zuckerberg’s partnership, appears to refer to a video Fauci recorded as part of the social media network’s push to provide its users with information on COVID-19. He then tore into critics demanding that he be booted from his position at the head of the National Institutes of Health.
“Lately everything I say gets taken out of context — not by you, but by others,” Fauci told Todd. His critics’ claims, he added, are “painfully ridiculous” — so ridiculous he has no interest in refuting them.
“I could go the next half an hour going through each and every point that they made,” Fauci said. Instead, he noted, he believes he has been “picked as the villain” in the ongoing back-and-forth over COVID-19 recommendations and regulations.
“People want to fire me or put me in jail for what I’ve done — namely, follow the science,” he said. “It’s preposterous, Chuck. Totally preposterous.”
Fauci then appeared to claim that attacks on his statements are attacks on “science” itself.
“A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about, consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” Fauci told Todd.
“Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me,” he added.
“So if you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you are really attacking not only Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science,” he said. “And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that.”
Fauci has been under increased fire this week following a Buzzfeed News story, laying bare a trove of emails between Fauci and a number of recipients, all dating from March of 2020. In introducing Fauci as his guest, Chuck Todd defended the embattled NIH director, suggesting that concerns about Fauci’s emails were reminiscent of attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
“Those 3,200 pages of emails don’t appear to contain anything particularly explosive. Still, the attacks against him have been, in a word, relentless, It’s also very familiar if you’ve followed American politics over the last five years,” Todd said.
“This is an attempt to weaponize something that’s kind of harmless and try to create a controversy,” he continued, referencing the Hillary Clinton email scandal, which involved a concern that the former Secretary of State had left confidential information exposed to foreign adversaries by using her own, unprotected, home email server. “We’ve seen this with emails before, haven’t we?”