A zesty note on which to end the week. Made zestier by the fact that he said this on Fox News, to an audience of Trump fans.
He’s been more pugnacious lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
I’m going to award him two Pinocchios for his claim. Fauci’s “noble lies” during the pandemic are infamous by now, starting with the big mask lie last spring aimed at preserving the national supply for doctors and nurses and then again last winter when he admitted to fibbing about what the true threshold for herd immunity was. Last month he claimed that he’d kept an open mind about the lab-leak theory from the start but the tone of his comments last year strongly suggested otherwise.
This week he seemed weaselly when he was accused of lying about funding gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and replied by pounding the table in indignation, conveniently never explaining why the allegation was supposedly so outrageous based on what we know.
Trump fans, and not just Trump fans, have had plenty of justification to have their faith in Fauci shaken.
My pal Karl has a point too, though: “There are plenty of valid, serious criticisms of Fauci, but it’s also true that the white-hot loathing of Fauci on the right had a ton to do with his cringing whenever Trump spouted BS during the daily pressers in which Trump self-immolated that Spring.” It wasn’t just the cringing, it was Fauci insisting that Trump shouldn’t be holding crowded indoor rallies, that masks were useful in reducing infections, that the science supporting hydroxychloroquine was shaky, and a hundred other statements that undercut the MAGA “reopen now” agenda. Just ask Sean Hannity: If you stray too far afield from telling people what they want to hear, they’ll decide you’re more of an enemy than an ally. And there’s no coming back from that.
The hated mainstream media’s insistence on portraying Fauci as a saintly figure, essentially a godhead of science doing battle with a demonic Trump, made the antipathy that much worse.
Here he is today with Neil Cavuto, who defended Fauci a few days ago by making the same point Fauci does. “He has been vilified to the point that you’d think he was Lex Luthor, and I don’t know how productive that is,” said Cavuto on Tuesday. “What might have been missed, and the source of all of this, I get that. But to make him the target of attacks, I think that a lot of this has to go back to his departure from the former president, Donald Trump, at the time. But whatever is behind it, I don’t see it being constructive.” The springboard for their Q&A here is GOP freshman Madison Cawthorn vowing recently that once Republicans take back the House there’ll be “consequences” for Fauci. “We want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law,” Cawthorn said, which isn’t the way the law works and isn’t something Kevin McCarthy would get behind given how popular Fauci remains. But House Republicans could certainly haul him in to answer questions about NIH and the Wuhan lab. That would be productive, at least.