Dr. Fauci details the harassment & death threats he and his family faced

White House Briefing

When Dr. Anthony Fauci did his first briefing during the Biden administration last week, he stepped up to the White House press briefing room podium and looked like a new man. His skin was glowing and he looked 20 years younger. He seemed happy and relieved that he could just do his job and talk about pure science, pure public health, pure immunology and virology. I think many of us feel that way now that Joe Biden is president too – lighter, not terrified, not having to play these stupid f–king games with morons. Dr. Fauci spoke to the NY Times about his time working with the Trump White House, which was basically the past year of his life, a year which saw him harassed by Donald Trump, threatened by MAGA morons and dealing with a mountain of misinformation coming straight from the White House. The full interview is worth a read. Some highlights:

When things started going wrong with Trump: “It coincided very much with the rapid escalation of cases in the northeastern part of the country, particularly the New York metropolitan area. I would try to express the gravity of the situation, and the response of the president was always leaning toward, “Well, it’s not that bad, right?” And I would say, “Yes, it is that bad.” It was almost a reflex response, trying to coax you to minimize it. Not saying, “I want you to minimize it,” but, “Oh, really, was it that bad?”

When Trump talked about how the virus would disappear like magic: “That’s when it became clear to me: I’m not going to proactively go out and volunteer my contradiction of what the president said. But he would say something that clearly was not correct, and then a reporter would say, “Well, let’s hear from Dr. Fauci.” I would have to get up and say, “No, I’m sorry, I do not think that is the case.” It isn’t like I took any pleasure in contradicting the president of the United States. I have a great deal of respect for the office. But I made a decision that I just had to. Otherwise I would be compromising my own integrity, and be giving a false message to the world. If I didn’t speak up, it would be almost tacit approval that what he was saying was OK.

Things got “nefarious” but no one explicitly told him to stop disagreeing with Trump: “After a TV interview or a story in a major newspaper, someone senior, like Mark Meadows, would call me up expressing concern that I was going out of my way to contradict the president. There were a couple of times where I would make a statement that was a pessimistic viewpoint about what direction we were going, and the president would call me up and say, “Hey, why aren’t you more positive? You’ve got to take a positive attitude. Why are you so negativistic? Be more positive.”

When the death threats started: “Many, many months ago. In the spring. Hold on — just bear with me. [He consults someone who answers “March 28.”] So there — you got it from the head of my Secret Service detail. That’s when I got protection, so maybe two weeks prior to that. It was the harassment of my wife, and particularly my children, that upset me more than anything else. They knew where my kids work, where they live. The threats would come directly to my children’s phones, directly to my children’s homes. How the hell did whoever these assholes were get that information? And there was chatter on the internet, people talking to each other, threatening, saying, “Hey, we got to get rid of this guy. What are we going to do about him? He’s hurting the president’s chances.” You know, that kind of right-wing craziness.

Someone mailed him powder: “One day I got a letter in the mail, I opened it up and a puff of powder came all over my face and my chest. That was very, very disturbing to me and my wife because it was in my office. So I just looked at it all over me and said, “What do I do?” The security detail was there, and they’re very experienced in that. They said, “Don’t move, stay in the room.” And they got the hazmat people. So they came, they sprayed me down and all that. [The powder] was a benign nothing. But it was frightening. My wife and my children were more disturbed than I was. I looked at it somewhat fatalistically. It had to be one of three things: A hoax. Or anthrax, which meant I’d have to go on Cipro for a month. Or if it was ricin, I was dead, so bye-bye.

Why he didn’t resign: “When people just see you standing up there, they sometimes think you’re being complicit in the distortions emanating from the stage. But I felt that if I stepped down, that would leave a void. Someone’s got to not be afraid to speak out the truth. They would try to play down real problems and have a little happy talk about how things are OK. And I would always say, “Wait a minute, hold it folks, this is serious business.” So there was a joke — a friendly joke, you know — that I was the skunk at the picnic.

Whether he believes Donald Trump cost the country tens or hundreds of thousands of lives: “I can’t comment on that. People always ask that and … making the direct connection that way, it becomes very damning. I just want to stay away from that. Sorry.”

[From The NY Times]

There’s more in there about how things worked internally at the White House when Fauci disagreed with Trump publicly or in private meetings, and Fauci also laments the fact that very early on – and throughout the pandemic – Trump began listening to complete randos about the virus. Trump simply was unable to think critically about information, and he gave equal weight to what Fauci said and what his golf buddy said, and the golf buddy usually won out. Anyway, I do think Trump murdered hundreds of thousands of people with his willful ignorance and lies.

White House Briefing

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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22 Responses to “Dr. Fauci details the harassment & death threats he and his family faced”

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    I think Trump just truly didn’t care about the lives of people he didn’t know. He didn’t care if they suffered. That’s how my MAGA dad is and it seems incredible to normal people, but I’m guessing that’s how Trump feels.

    • Darla says:

      Yes, I think the same is true for my MAGA family members. They don’t care about the lives of people they don’t know, they’re not capable of caring. It’s abstract to them. They are deficient in some way. In Trump’s case I actually wonder if he cares about the lives of people he does know though. I would say of people he loves, but i don’t think he’s capable of feeling love. I really don’t. I think he’s a monster of a person.

      • Miranda says:

        I don’t think he’s capable of it, either. Like, take his relationship with Ivanka, for example. She’s his apparent favorite child, but instead of normal, healthy fatherly affection, it manifests itself as objectification and sexualization. HIS OWN DAUGHTER is just an object to him.

      • Emm says:

        @Darla 100% agree. My MAGA family who go to church every Sunday and say they are doing gods work treats us like garbage but would treat anyone stranger off the street that says they are a trump supporter like you are supposed to treat your own family. My FIL for sure has a that deficiency and I don’t think he thinks twice about people he doesn’t know but he also doesn’t think about his own son (my husband) and our family because we don’t believe and think like them. He has always spouted off about unconditional love whenever we would point out shitty things he did or said to us but that is definitely not a two way street with him and because we aren’t over the top magas he doesn’t spend anytime thinking about is at all. He is exactly like trump. A narcissist and always playing the victim.

        Why anyone still has loyalty for a guy who clearly showed over and over no loyalty to anyone but himself and would use and discard people for until they weren’t useful to him anymore is beyond my understanding. I think about my in laws and my own parents and think, you know this guy wouldn’t give you the time of f$&@ing day right?? He hates you but you are useful to him so he will keep pretending he has any idea what an actual Bible looks like. This man wanted to kill you but you will still worship at his feet and defend him??

        ETA: Return of the Mack now has me in a mood this morning! Haven’t heard that in years, that was a middle school JAM!

    • Gina says:

      His narcissism his his mental illness makes it impossible for him to care. I’m not trying to make an excuse for the man. We had a mentally ill person in the White House for four years Who has no ability to feel any sort of empathy.

    • sa says:

      I agree that Trump doesn’t even care about those he does know. I don’t think there was a single tweet of concern or even encouragement when his family members had covid. For a man who can’t resist tweeting every thought he has that was very revealing.

    • Moxylady says:

      Omg that video. I’ve been reborn!!!!

  2. Seraphina says:

    Fauci appears to be a new man now that Biden is in office. Fauci is smiling more and seems happier. Reports are stating that Trump is mega pissed watching Fauci right now – yeah because his name is being tarnished and righty so. People have died because he could have cared less and was more interested in bullying officials to over turn the election. The blood is on his hands.

    • Esmom says:

      I said to my husband exactly that last week: “Dr. Fauci looks like a new man!” And my husband was “Can you blame him after all he just went through?” I feel like he was all of us at that news conference, just so relieved and giddy to have Trump out.

      And yeah, I can see Trump being upset and also the rest of his administration. They are all being schooled now that actual professionals, dedicated to public service, are back in the WH. It is glorious. Although my unease is growing as the Republicans have hit the ground running, too, with their incessant, mendacious grievances and blame. I fear Trump and the insurrection are in real danger of being swept under the rug.

  3. Eleonor says:

    I know I have the uttermost respect for him, for the professionalism he has shown, and for his sense of duty.
    And in the end Trump had to go but Fauci is still there.

  4. Nlopez says:

    Return of the Mack almost took me out! Love it!😂

  5. Miranda says:

    I know Dr. Fauci already has a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work with AIDS relief, but come on, he deserves another award for putting up with Trump’s stupid bullshit for the past year. Nobel Prize? Sainthood?

    • mellie says:

      He deserves all the above….plus, Time’s Person of the Year, that would really make ‘someone’ mad.

  6. Abby says:

    I love seeing how refreshed Fauci looks. This story burns me up on all kinds of levels. Our lead health expert should not have had to battle THE PRESIDENT and his followers while also trying to fight the pandemic. Infuriating.

  7. Mina_Esq says:

    Dr. Fauci did what a lot of others were too weak to do: he stayed and held the line. I’m sure it would have been easier to quit and let Trump fill his spot with some dangerous moron like Dr. Atlas (or Jared lol), but he literally put his life on the line in order to be the one source of truth in that entire task force.

    • Godwina says:

      Exactly. He KNEW he had to stay to prevent a non-scientist or whacko “scientist” being given the role in his place.

      This was the post-Dumped interview I was waiting for. I’m sure he’ll give others.

    • emma33 says:

      He went through a lot of controversy during the peak of the AIDS crisis – it was different of course, but I think he knows how to operate under situations of high stress and how to focus on achievable goals. I admire him for staying and being one of the only voices of reason. His consistent messaging probaly saved many thousands of lives.

  8. Lizzythe2 says:

    It’s appalling that Dr. Fauci was treated in this manner. He was trying to give people the correct information in order for us to protect ourselves properly. Instead he is harassed by the person who holds the highest power in the world. Fauci’s family being targeted is sickening. How do these people sleep at night? They are truly derranged.

  9. AMA1977 says:

    I just love him, and I am so happy to see him smiling, knowing that his incredible experience, education, and contribution is once again valued. He is a hero for staying the course and we are very lucky he’s so strong. Thank you, Dr. Fauci, for being true to science and your convictions and getting accurate information out to the country during such dark times. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

  10. Coco says:

    Did anyone see the interview Dr Birx did this weekend. She’s lying through her teeth. From the what I saw, she expressed no shame or guilt. She kept laughing like, “Remember that time on Spring Break when I accidentally bought tanning oil instead of sunscreen? And remember that time when I was complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? LOL, so what’s new with you?”