Nicholas: There was a moment last year when the Trump campaign released an ad that implied you were praising his handling of the pandemic. This seemed strange to me, given that others in the Trump orbit were trying to discredit you.

Fauci: I didn’t like it. [In the first Bush administration,] someone once said they wanted me to go out and make a statement that would be supporting some political stance that George H. W. Bush was taking. And he said, “Absolutely not! I don’t want you to soil Dr. Fauci by getting him involved in any political battles.” What an amazing gentleman he was. And here, what these people were doing is, without even consulting me, they were throwing me in the middle of a very contentious political battle, which I found to be really very infuriating.

Nicholas: Did you tell Trump or his people to back off?

Fauci: I didn’t tell them to back off. That wasn’t my style. My style was to say—to get a little Brooklyn-ite—“What is this bullshit that you people are doing?” I just made it very clear that I didn’t like it.