Dr. Anthony Fauci is tired of taking shots from people attacking his COVID-19 recommendations ― and he let his critics have it on Wednesday.
During an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Fauci called the critiques “preposterous” and “painfully ridiculous,” but made it clear there’s an even bigger target.
“A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science, because all of the things that I have spoken about, consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said before rebutting the attacks on prior remarks on how the coronavirus originated and the importance of wearing masks to prevent transmission.
“If you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately,” Fauci said. “I mean, every single one.”
To that end, Todd showed a Twitter video by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in which she accuses Fauci of being in cahoots with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and of being responsible for funding the creation of the coronavirus.
Fauci dismissed Blackburn’s unproven allegations.
“I don’t want to be pejorative against a United States senator, but I have no idea what she’s talking about,” Fauci said.
Although there have been recent reports suggesting the virus that causes COVID-19 may have escaped from a Wuhan lab, Fauci still believes the natural scenario is more likely based on the available data.
“You want to keep an open mind. It’s a possibility. I believe it’s a highly unlikely possibility, and I believe that the most important one, that you look at what scientists feel, is very likely that it was a natural origin,” Fauci said, though he remains “very much in favor” of further investigation.
Fauci seemed perplexed that many Americans don’t understand that a novel virus such as the one that causes COVID-19 is a moving target and rules and recommendations change as new information emerges.
“When those data change, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you have got to be guided by the science and the current data,” he said. “People want to fire me or put me in jail for what I’ve done — namely, follow the science.”
He added: “It’s preposterous, Chuck. Totally preposterous.”
Fauci then reiterated that any attacks on him are because people don’t want to follow suggestions he made based on the science.
“Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me. So if you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you are really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science,” he said. “And anybody that looks at what’s going on clearly sees that.”
You can see the exchange in the video up top.