Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday he was on the receiving end of “completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading and misrepresented attacks” amid finding himself facing a fresh onslaught of criticism from conservatives.
The longtime director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made the remark to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow after the release of his emails this week was quickly pounced upon by right-wing detractors.
“I meant is what it is. I’m a public figure. I’m going to take the arrows and the slings. But they’re just, they’re fabricated. And that’s just what it is,” said Dr. Fauci, 80, who had led the NIAID since 1984.
“My job was to make a vaccine and use my institute and the talented scientists that we have there and that we fund in the various universities, to get a vaccine that was highly safe and highly effective. And we succeeded. That’s what I do. All the other stuff is just a terrible, not happy type of a distraction. But it’s all nonsense,” Dr. Fauci said on MSNBC while discussing what he said amounted to an “attack on science.”
The emails include messages sent to and from Dr. Fauci during the first half of 2020 while he served on the Coronavirus Task Force that was established by the Trump administration to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of Republicans in the House and Senate have alleged the emails suggest that Dr. Fauci lied about the outbreak and its origins, and several have argued that he should accordingly quit or be fired.
Dr. Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser in addition to leading the NIAID, explained later during the interview that he believes it is valid to have questions about the origins of COVID-10.
“You know, there’s this concern, is it a natural evolution, or is it something that happened out of a lab, an accident or what have you. It is important to understand that,” said Dr. Fauci.
“But it is being approached now in a very vehement way, in a very distorted way, I believe, by attacking me,” Dr. Fauci continued. “I think the question is extremely legitimate. You should want to know how this happened so that we can make sure it doesn’t happen again. But what’s happened in the middle of all of that, I’ve become the object of extraordinary – I believe – completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading, and misrepresented attacks which, you know, it is what it is, but it’s happening, and that’s unfortunate.”
Scientists have not determined the exact origins of COVID-19, the contagious and potentially deadly disease the coronavirus causes. The first cases appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, before spreading worldwide.
Mr. Biden recently said the U.S. intelligence community has considered whether the pandemic may have started because of human contact with an infected animal or from a lab accident but has not definitively settled on either scenario.