In response to “growing threats to his personal safety,” as well as his growing popularity, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead voices on the White House coronavirus task force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has reportedly been assigned a security detail. While officials have provided no specifics about the nature of the alleged threats directed at Fauci, The Washington Post speculates that they are coming from the Right.
Citing sources with “knowledge of deliberations inside the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice,” the Post reports that “concerns” about Fauci’s safety have escalated amid “threats as well as unwelcome communications from fervent admirers.”
The Post describes Fauci as on of the “few officials willing to correct President Trump’s misstatements” about the coronavirus crisis and the frequent bringer of bad news to a president who is anxious to get Americans back to work as quickly as possible. “Along with Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House’s task force, Fauci has encouraged the president to extend the timeline for social-distancing guidelines, presenting him with grim models about the possible toll of the pandemic,” the Post notes, citing Fauci’s projection Tuesday that between 100,000 and 240,000 people will die in the U.S. as a result of the virus.
The Post reports that HHS Sec. Alex Azar, who has his own security detail, “recently grew concerned about Fauci’s safety as his profile rose and he endured more vitriolic criticism online.” Fauci has also been approached more frequently as of late by admirers, sources say. After HHS reportedly requested the security detail for Fauci, the Post reports, the U.S. Marshals Service “conveyed the request to the deputy attorney general, who has authority over deputations for the purpose of providing protective services, with the recommendation that it be approved.” The paperwork for the security detail was reportedly signed by a Justice Department official on Tuesday.
When Fauci’s was asked about the reports Wednesday, he offered no comment, but Trump did. “He doesn’t need security,” said the president. “Everybody loves him.”
While the Post acknowledges that “the exact nature of the threats against him was not clear,” the paper strongly suggests that any threats are likely coming from the Right.
“Fauci has become a public target for some right-wing commentators and bloggers, who exercise influence over parts of the president’s base,” the Post explains. “As they press for the president to ease restrictions to reinvigorate economic activity, some of these figures have assailed Fauci and questioned his expertise.”
The paper goes on to present examples of criticism of Fauci from right-wing sources, including describing him as an agent of the “deep state.”
While the Post goes to lengths to portray Fauci as a voice of opposition to Trump, the left-leaning paper fails to note that Fauci has also strongly defended the president’s response to the crisis.
This attempt to pit Fauci and Trump against each other is part of a larger pattern by mainstream media outlets. As The Daily Wire reported, Fauci himself felt compelled to push back against the trend last week.
“I would wish that that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences,” said Fauci during an interview on WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” last Tuesday. “… When I have made recommendations [President Trump’s] taken them. He’s never countered or overridden me. The idea of pitting one against the other is just not helpful. I wish that would stop and we’d look ahead at the challenge we have to pull together to get over this thing.”