On Monday, the nation’s top infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci received a $1 million Israeli prize established by the late Italian Israeli philanthropist Dan David.
Fauci, a leading voice in President Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, was honored with the Dan David Prize for his service in public health and “speaking truth to power” during pandemic, NPR reported Monday.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic unraveled, (Fauci) leveraged his considerable communication skills to address people gripped by fear and anxiety and worked relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread,” the award committee said in a statement. “In addition, he has been widely praised for his courage in speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.”
The statement on the award seems to come as a slight against Trump, whom Fauci has publicly criticized.
Speaking with The New York Times in January, Fauci said he sometimes had to contradict Trump in order to allegedly avoid the spread of disinformation.
“It isn’t like I took any pleasure in contradicting the president of the United States,” Fauci told the Times. “I have a great deal of respect for the office. But I made a decision that I just had to. Otherwise I would be compromising my own integrity, and be giving a false message to the world. If I didn’t speak up, it would be almost tacit approval that what he was saying was OK,” he said.
“That’s when I started to get into some trouble,” he continued. “The people around him, his inner circle, were quite upset that I would dare publicly contradict the president.”
“There were a couple of times where I would make a statement that was a pessimistic viewpoint about what direction we were going,” Fauci added, “and the president would call me up and say, ‘Hey, why aren’t you more positive? You’ve got to take a positive attitude. Why are you so negativistic? Be more positive.’”
In September, Fauci said he was never “muzzled” by the Trump administration, squashing reports saying he was being silenced.
“I would never be muzzled about anything when it comes to science and evidence and the facts,” the doctor said on Fox News airwaves.
As noted by The Daily Wire in January, reports circulated that confirmed Fauci pulled down the largest salary of any taxpayer-funded federal employee in 2019, surpassing even the salary of the president of the United States. Notably, Trump bypassed his salary while in office, instead donating the money. The Daily Wire reported:
Fauci, 80, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made $417,608 in 2019, which is the last year records are available, according to information obtained via FOIA and reported by Forbes.
By contrast, the annual salary of the president is $400,000, and that of the vice president is $235,100.
Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Jeffrey Lyash is technically a federal employee who makes more, Forbes pointed out, but his salary is not solely funded by taxpayers.
Fauci, who earned his medical degree from Cornell University, raked in $3.6 million between 2010 and 2019 and last got a raise in 2014, when his pay went from $335,000 to its present rate of $417,608. Even if he doesn’t get another raise, Fauci will make another $2.5 million between 2019 and 2024.
As Forbes notes, Fauci has seemingly downplayed how much money he is making, telling Matthew McConaughey in an interview last August that he does not have millions invested in potential vaccines. “Matthew, no, I got zero!” Fauci said. “I am a government worker. I have a government salary.”
According to NPR, the Dan David Award “sets aside 10% of the prize money for academic scholarships in each winner’s field. Fauci gets to determine the nature of the scholarships.”