Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to receive death threats and other harassment. In mid-October, he said it was “sad” that he and his family have received so many threats that he needs others to help protect him when he’s in public.
Fauci is the face of the Donald Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, and he’s still trusted by the majority of Americans, especially those who are Democrats. Meanwhile, the majority of U.S. citizens don’t approve of Trump’s performance in handling the pandemic.
The two have clashed in public, as well. Trump has said Fauci has made too many mistakes, and Fauci said he was no longer invited to the administration’s coronavirus press briefings (which, for what it’s worth, have disappeared). Trump has had no problem contradicting or criticizing Fauci in public. And Fauci hasn’t had an issue in downplaying Trump’s optimism that a vaccine would be available by the presidential election and for downplaying the coronavirus threat in general. In the early morning hours of Nov. 2 during a rally in Florida, Trump hinted he’d fire Fauci after the election. A few days later, though, Fauci said he wasn’t going anywhere and would be around for the next presidential term.
In a 60 Minutes interview that aired on Oct. 18, Fauci, due to the death threats, talked about his need for public security. The 79-year-old used to be an avid runner, but now, he spends his days power walking. To do so, federal agents are always nearby.
“That’s sad,” Fauci said. “The very fact a public health message to save lives triggers such venom and animosity to me that it results in real and credible threats to my life and my safety. But it bothers me less than the hassling of my wife and my children.
“Give me a break.”
Fauci has had security since April, even when he’s at his home. When that was revealed, Trump almost immediately said, “(He) doesn’t need security, everybody loves them.” In August, Fauci said his family was being threatened and claimed, “There is a degree of anti-science feeling in this country.”
During the 60 Minutes interview, Fauci also said he wasn’t surprised Trump had been infected with COVID-19. “Absolutely not,” Fauci said. “I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask. When I saw that on TV, I said, ‘Oh my goodness. Nothing good can come outta that, that’s gotta be a problem.’ And then sure enough, it turned out to be a superspreader event.”
But what really angered Fauci recently was when the Trump campaign began using a months-old video of him saying, “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more” in a TV ad. That seemingly referred to Trump’s performance during the pandemic, but Fauci said that quote was taken out of context.
“I do not and nor will I ever, publicly endorse any political candidate,” Fauci said. “And here I am, they’re sticking me right in the middle of a campaign ad. Which I thought was outrageous. I was referring to something entirely different. I was referring to the grueling work of the task force that, ‘God, we were knocking ourselves out seven days a week. I don’t think we could have possibly have done any more than that.’ … I got really ticked off.”