Over the years, Dr. Anthony Fauci has preferred to stay out of politics, whether he was addressing the AIDS crisis during Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s or the COVID-19 pandemic during Donald Trump's last year in the White House. But some far-right Republicans have been going out of their way to politicize Fauci, and Washington Post reporter Paulina Villegas describes some ways in which the 80-year-old immunologist has been pushing back.
Washington Post reporter Paulina Villegas notes that Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been trying to link Fauci to President Joe Biden's immigration policy and the abundance of migrants showing up at the U.S./Mexico border — and that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have all latched onto Fauci as a symbol of anti-Trumpism. Fauci, Villegas notes, finds it "a little bizarre" that some Republicans see him that way.
"I've become sort of, for some reason or another, a symbol of anything they don't like," Fauci told the Post.
As states begin to open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to all U.S. adults, watch Dr. Fauci try to make the ca… https://t.co/PGnPw5jqoA— White House COVID-19 Response Team (@White House COVID-19 Response Team) 1617128526.0
Navarro was especially vindictive, attacking Fauci as "a sociopath and a liar" during a recent Fox News appearance and saying that he "had nothing to do with the" COVID-19 "vaccine." The former Trump economic adviser told Fox News, "What is Fauci the father of? Fauci is the father of the actual virus." And Fauci, in response, told the Post, "How bizarre is that? Think about it for a second. Isn't that a little weird? I mean, come on."
On February 23, Rubio accused Fauci of trying to "mislead or scare us," to which Fauci responded that he was simply offering scientific data — not trying to frighten anyone." And Meadows wanted to know why Fauci hasn't criticized Biden for "releasing thousands of COVID untested migrants into the U.S."
Dr. Fauci is a very good public-health official His job is to advise policy makers & inform the public But his… https://t.co/8K1AiOHVTi— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1614086106.0
There was no policy, medical or otherwise, that Dr. Fauci wouldn’t weigh in on when President Trump was in the Whit… https://t.co/LGyuCIb4aQ— Mark Meadows (@Mark Meadows) 1617215106.0
When the Post asked Fauci if the attacks from Republicans bothered him, he responded that he was too busy "trying to preserve the health and safety of the American people that I cannot be bothered with getting distracted with these people that are doing ad hominems."