Fauci brushes off GOP criticism and says attacks on him are ‘attacks on science’ that he can debunk ‘immediately’

AP anthony fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said that attacks on him were “attacks on science.”
  • Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn accused Fauci Tuesday of working with Mark Zukerberg and “cherry-picking” facts.
  • Fauci said he could “debunk” every criticism of his decisions, which were “fundamentally based on science.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that all his COVID-19 recommendations were “fundamentally based on science,” following criticism from a Republican senator.

Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, told NBC News that “attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.”

“If you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you are really attacking not only Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science,” Fauci said. “And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that.”

Tennessee’s Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn posted a video Tuesday accusing Fauci of working with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and “cherry-picking” facts so the public only knew what Zuckerberg and Fauci wanted them to know.

Fauci said Wednesday that he didn’t want to criticize a US senator, but had “no idea what she was talking about.”

Fauci has received criticism from GOP leaders throughout the pandemic. Some GOP leaders have asked Fauci to resign over his handling of COVID-19 and his view that it is “highly unlikely” that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. They have also criticized Fauci for asking Americans to wear masks to protect against the virus.

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday at North Carolina’s Republican Party convention that Fauci had “been wrong on almost every issue and he was wrong on Wuhan and the lab also.”

Fauci told NBC News that he could go through every single criticism he’d faced and “debunk it immediately.”

He used his mask guidance as an example.

Initially, there was a shortage of masks, alongside no evidence mask-wearing outside a hospital worked and no awareness of asymptomatic spread, he said. Fauci said that, in time, it became clear that there was no mask shortage, that data showed mask-wearing outside hospitals worked, and that 50% of people with COVID-19 had no symptoms.

“That’s when we said we gotta get people to wear masks,” he said.

Fauci said that this exemplified the scientific process. “You make a guideline based on what you know at the time. As a scientist, as a health official, when those data change, when you get more information, it’s essential that you change your position because you got to be guided by the science and the current data,” he said.

Instead, “people want to fire me, or put me in jail for what I’ve done,” Fauci said. “Lately everything I say gets taken out of context,” he said.

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