Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded in an interview on Friday to criticisms that he has faced in recent days over his handling of the pandemic and recently released emails that shed light on comments he made during the early days on the pandemic.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Fauci said that criticisms of him were “really very much an attack on science.”
“What’s happening now, is very much an anti-science approach,” Fauci claimed. “I mean, it is what it is, I’m a public figure, I’m going to take the arrows and the swings, but they’re just, they’re fabricated. And that’s just what it is … it’s all nonsense.”
When asked about the push to understand the origins of the pandemic, Fauci responded, “It is important to understand that, but it is being approached now in a very vehement way, in a very distorted way, I believe by attacking me.”
“I think that the question is extremely legitimate, you should want to know how this happened so that we can make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said. “But what’s happened in the middle of all that, I become the object of extraordinary, I believe, completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading and misrepresented attacks, which, you know, it is what it is, but it’s it’s happening. And that’s unfortunate.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci ridiculously responds to being criticized:
“it's really very much an attack on science”
“is very much an anti-science”
“completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading and misrepresented attacks.”
Uh huh. Riiiight. pic.twitter.com/eAn3lZVP37
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) June 5, 2021
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: First of all, let me just ask if I’m being fair. Am I building you up to be thicker skinned about this than you are? You’re actually worried about this new sort of reupping of attacks on you?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, I’m concerned about that more because it’s really very much an attack on science, I think, Rachel. You know, you spoke and I think accurately depicted the growing extraordinarily productive relationship that I had with the activists, when they came to me with legitimate concerns that the federal government, the scientists, the regulatory enterprise, didn’t fully appreciate that you needed to involve them in everything you do because it was their lives that were at stake. So I did reach out to them. And it turned out to be an extremely productive relationship. They got my attention in a very theatrical, confrontative, iconoclastic way, but they were fundamentally good people. They were not anti-science. What is the thread going through, what’s happening now, is very much an anti-science approach. So that’s a big, big difference. I mean, it is what it is, I’m a public figure, I’m going to take the arrows and the swings, but they’re just, they’re fabricated. And that’s just what it is. But we’ll, we’ll just have to do our jobs, Rachel, my job was to make a vaccine and use my institute and its talented scientists that we have there. And that we fund in the various universities to get a vaccine that was highly safe and highly effective. And we succeeded. That’s what I do, all the other stuff is just a terrible, not happy type of a distraction. But it’s all nonsense.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about actually the point about developing a vaccine, 40 years into your work on HIV and AIDS. Does the development process and the success with the COVID vaccines give us, should that give us any new hope for an HIV vaccine?
FAUCI: Absolutely, absolutely. And that’s a really good question, because the technologies that were developed, the mRNA technology, the success of using of very elegant techniques of the conformational correct form of the immunogen in the right form to engage the immune system to optimally make a good response. You know, it was back and forth, Rachel, what was done with HIV, early on, though unsuccessful with a vaccine, went the long way to make success for the COVID-19 vaccine. And the technologies that have now been perfected, particularly the mRNA technology, and other vaccine platforms that were perfected, and used in COVID-19, I believe strongly will go back and be able to really forward and advance the HIV effort. In fact, there are scientists right now, even as we speak, that are using what the COVID-19 effort has inspired us to do to start working on that for HIV. So it’s just science at its best, you know, contributions back and forth, with the fundamental core of it being the investment that one makes in basic biomedical research, which is really the resounding success story of the scientific approach to COVID-19 vaccines, and has resulted in already saving millions of lives.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about trying to bridge some of the sort of politics and nonsense and some of the science that you were talking about. One of the reasons that there is this new uproar on the Right, again, I will be honest, and saying I don’t totally understand it. But there’s a real focus on what the origin story is for where COVID-19 came from. And there are these conspiracy theories that rather than being a virus that crossed from animals into humans, like other viruses have, that there was some you know, purposely diabolically created virus that was purposely generated in a lab to unleash on the world as a bio weapon. And that seems to be some of what’s going on in the Right right now in the targeting of you. But scientifically speaking, is it key, is it a key scientific factor in coming up with cures and coming up with vaccines and coming up with a final sort of solution to COVID-19 to know where it came from to understand the origins of the virus?
FAUCI: Well, to understand the origins of the virus, Rachel, rather than being contributory to the development of drugs or vaccines, it’s more to prevent this from happening, again, to understand the origins so that you can be able to be prepared wherever the origin is. You know, there’s this concern, is it a natural evolution? Or is it something that happened out of a lab and accident or what have you? It is important to understand that, but it is being approached now in a very vehement way, in a very distorted way, I believe by attacking me. I think that the question is extremely legitimate, you should want to know how this happened so that we can make sure it doesn’t happen again. But what’s happened in the middle of all that, I become the object of extraordinary, I believe, completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading and misrepresented attacks, which, you know, it is what it is, but it’s it’s happening. And that’s unfortunate.