- Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke about the harassment he faces on a recent New York Times podcast.
- The infectious disease expert has been called a fascist and received death threats targeting his family.
- Fauci chalked up the most extreme comments to politicized misinformation.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci has received an overwhelming amount of public attention in the past year and a half, and it would be an understatement to say it’s not all been positive.
Some Trump supporters and COVID-19 deniers put the infectious disease expert at the center of outlandish conspiracy theories about the virus. The vitriol has only intensified following the recent release of thousands of Fauci’s emails to multiple national media outlets.
Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House chief medical advisor, addressed the criticism on Sunday, when he appeared on the New York Times Opinion’s “Sway” podcast.
His goal is to “parse the science from the politics,” Fauci said.
“What I do is I concentrate on my job,” Fauci told “Sway” host Kara Swisher. “And when I concentrate on my job, I put very little weight in the adulation and very little weight in the craziness of condemning me.”
As much as Fauci tries to tune out the noise – he’s not on Facebook or Twitter – he can’t ignore the impact on his family, he said. The death threats and “obscene notes” targeting his wife and daughters have been among the worst of the harassment.
Swisher also brought up some of the recent personal attacks on Fauci, from Roger Stone comparing the doctor to Hitler to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “freedom over faucism” tweet.
Fauci said that kind of backlash – “an organized effort to essentially discredit the truth,” he called it – has dissuaded some of his colleagues from publicly speaking about vaccines. However, he said the more extreme the comment is, the more political he believes it to be.
“Here’s a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives, and now you’re telling me he’s like Hitler? Come on, folks. Get real,” Fauci said.