Dr. Anthony Fauci asserted the apolitical nature of his position as a public health official and accused politicians such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) of politicizing him.
During a wide-ranging interview Wednesday morning, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle asked Fauci to respond to a recent Washington Post focus group on vaccine messaging that was less than enthusiastic about him. As The Washington Post reported April 20:
One figure was roundly panned at the focus group: Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Every participant said they preferred hearing from politicians over the medical expert, who has been pilloried by conservative media for months over his coronavirus warnings.
“The data have shown that unfortunately Dr. Fauci has been politicized, and we need different messengers, because even the right messages coming from the wrong messengers aren’t always helpful,” [Brian] Castrucci said, noting his foundation’s polling found Americans trust their personal doctors more than the government’s top infectious-disease doctor.
“I have to ask you,” Ruhle said. “How does that make you feel?” Listing Fauci’s resume as an infectious diseases doctor who has devoted more than 40 years “to science and protecting the American people,” she asked again, “When you hear that quote, how does that make you feel?”
“You know, I don’t take those things personally,” Fauci replied. “There is an aspect of that, for certain people, that are correct. Because if you look at the people that are politicizing me, they’re somebody, they’re all the way over on one level.”
“But there are a lot of other people who look upon me the way they should — as a non-political person that I am, as a public health person — and listen to what I have to say. So if you have the extreme people that are very, very far off to one level, feel that I have become — they have politicized me.”
“I mean, of course, if you look at some of the congressional hearings that have gone on, it’s been a show,” Fauci continued. “You know, people get up there like Congressman Jim Jordan and Senator Rand Paul, of course they politicize me. But, you know, it is what it is. You’ve just got to go ahead and do what you have to do.”
WATCH (relevant portion begins at 8:40):
As he referenced, Fauci has clashed repeatedly with Jordan and Paul during congressional hearings. During a hearing in April, Jordan slammed Fauci for failing to provide a timeline for life to resume as normal.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 15, 2021
In March, Paul questioned the need for wearing masks after being vaccinated, going so far as to describe the practice as “theater,” which was an assertion Fauci said he totally disagreed with.
“You’ve had the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks,” Paul asked. “Isn’t that theater?”
“Here we go again with the ‘theater,’” Fauci replied sharply. “Let’s get down to the facts. Okay. The studies that you quote … look at in vitro examination of memory immunity, which in their paper they specifically say, ‘This does not necessarily pertain to the actual protection. It’s in vitro.’”
Rand Paul just exploded on Dr. Fauci over the "need" for wearing masks after you've been vaccinated pic.twitter.com/OZproppExf
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) March 18, 2021
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even those who have been vaccinated “should still take steps to protect [themselves] and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.”
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