Furious Fauci lashes out at Elon Musk and GOP leaders calling for his arrest over COVID origins
Dr. Anthony Fauci has hit back against those wishing to see him prosecuted over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The now retired Fauci, 82, called his accusers ‘insane,’ during an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta Saturday.
He said he and his family are still receiving death threats due to his response to the 2020 pandemic – months after stepping down from his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Acosta also asked Fauci about Elon Musk’s December tweet which mocked transgender pronouns while calling for criminal charges. The message read: ‘My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.’
‘What’s your response to that?’ the host asked.
‘There’s no response to that craziness, Jim. Prosecute me for what? What are they talking about? I wish I could figure out what the heck they’re talking about. I think they’re just going off the deep end,’ the nation’s top infectious disease expert railed.
‘It just doesn’t make any sense to say something like that, and it actually is irresponsible,’ he blasted.
Speaking about how his family deals with the negative publicity around his stewardship of the pandemic, Fauci said it was ‘difficult.’
‘I mean, they don’t like to have me getting death threats all the time. Every time someone gets up and spouts some nonsense that’s misinformation, disinformation and outright lies, somebody somewhere decides they want to do harm to me and or my family,’ he said.
‘That’s the part of it that is really unfortunate… The rest of it is just insanity, the things they’re saying. But it does have a negative effect when people take it seriously and take it out on you and your family.’
The doctor described the view that it was ‘unacceptable’ to have a ‘political view on a public health problem’ as these issues create a ‘common enemy.’
During his time in office between 1984 until 2022, Fauci dealt with the thorny questions around health crises from HIV/AIDS to avian flu and Ebola.
The veteran immunologist has served as an adviser to seven U.S. presidents beginning with Republican Ronald Reagan and has had over 50 years of public service.
At the time of the Musk tweet, the White House voiced full-throated support for Fauci.
‘They are disgusting, and they are divorced from reality, and we will continue to call that out and be very clear about that,’ Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters afterwards.
On Friday, the House voted unanimously to declassify U.S. intelligence information about the origins of COVID-19, a sweeping show of bipartisan support near the third anniversary of the start of the deadly pandemic.
The 419-0 vote was final congressional approval of the bill, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk. It’s unclear whether the president will sign the measure into law, and the White House said the matter was under review.
‘I haven’t made that decision yet,’ Biden said late Friday when asked whether he would sign the bill.
Debate in the House was brief and to the point: Americans have questions about how the deadly virus started and what can be done to prevent future outbreaks.
‘The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
That includes, he said, ‘how this virus was created and, specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event.’
Led by Republicans, the focus on the virus origins comes as the House launched a select committee with a hearing earlier in the week delving into theories about how the pandemic started.
It offers a rare moment of bipartisanship despite the often heated rhetoric about the origins of the coronavirus and the questions about the response to the virus by U.S. health officials including Fauci.
House Republicans have been using their new majority power to investigate all aspects of the pandemic, including the origin, as well as what they contend were officials’ efforts to conceal the fact that it leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
Days earlier, the GOP released emails showing that Fauci commissioned a February 2020 paper to disprove the possibility that COVID originated in a lab — before publicizing the study at a White House news conference weeks later.
In February, Republicans sent letters to Fauci, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Health Secretary Xavier Beccera and others as part of their investigative efforts.
The letters do not require the cooperation of recipients. But in announcing the Republican staff report in December, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the virus subcommittee, said that lawmakers would issue subpoenas if potential witnesses didn’t cooperate.
Republicans have accused Fauci of lying to Congress when he denied in May that the National Institutes of Health funded ‘gain of function’ research — the practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world — at a virology lab in Wuhan.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, even urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Fauci’s statements.
At the time, Fauci called that criticism ‘nonsense.’