Tearing into his Republican critics on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed that the withering criticism he’s faced from the right is not only “painfully ridiculous” but also “very dangerous,” insisting that it amounts to “attacks on science.”
In recent weeks, the top infectious disease expert has become public enemy no. 1 in conservative circles, largely thanks to the public release of a trove of his emails. Republicans have cited the emails to blast Fauci for supposedly misleading on mask-wearing and claiming they show he tried to cover up proof that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab.
At the same time, journalists such as Fox News anchor Chris Wallace have pointed out that there’s “no smoking gun” within the thousands of emails, warning that the attacks have become “highly political” and nothing more than a “major talking point for Republicans.”
Echoing those concerns while intervening Fauci on Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd noted that the chief Biden medical adviser had become a “caricature on the right” and the subject of “some really wild conspiracies.” For instance, as Todd highlighted, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently accused Fauci of colluding with Facebook to push a “cherry-picked” narrative on COVID-19.
“How do you debunk something like that? She’s got it in her own head. Again, a United States senator that represents the state of Tennessee. What do you say to that?” Todd wondered aloud.
“I don’t have a clue what she just said,” an exasperated Fauci sighed. “I don’t have a clue of what she’s talking about.”
He continued: “And I’m sorry, I don’t want to be pejorative against a United States senator but I have no idea what she’s talking about. And you know, Chuck, if you go through each and every one of the points which are so ridiculous, just painfully ridiculous, if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately.”
After attempting to fact-check some of the most common attacks—notably over his changing position and evolution on mask-wearing—Fauci then went on a bit of a tirade at all of his Republican detractors.
“It’s very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” he exclaimed. “Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science. Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me.”
“So if you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science,” the public health expert concluded. “And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that!”