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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the president, faced backlash on Sunday over attacks that he launched against Republican senators.
Fauci, who made the remarks during an interview on CBS News' "Face The Nation"
with host Margaret Brennan, claimed during the same interview, "I've stayed away from politics my entire life."
"Anybody who spins lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense, that's noise, Margaret, that's noise,"
Later, when asked about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) saying that Fauci should be prosecuted by the Department of Justice, Fauci responded: "Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?"
Fauci claimed that Republicans were trying to scapegoat him to protect former President Donald Trump and that Republicans who are attacking him are "lying."
"And if you're attacking me, you're really attacking science,"
Fauci claimed. "I mean, everybody knows that."
Notable responses to Fauci's remarks include:
- Jeryl Bier, journalist: "This is not helpful in any way. This is almost word for word something a cult leader would say. This persuades no one not already in his corner."
- Richard Grenell, former Acting Director of National Intelligence: "Fauci is all about politics."
- Alicia Smith, political commentator: "Look, you don't have to be some Fauci conspiracy theorist to recognize that Fauci's utility as a trusted public health official has long since expired, and he tends to be a net negative when it comes to clarity and trust."
- Steve Guest, Special Adviser for Communications for Senator Cruz: "Dr. Fauci's flippant response underscores how he views himself as Democrat political operative first and 'scientist' last. Fauci lives to weaponize his white lab coat to suit his partisan aims and win plaudits from the DC swamp."
- Larry Sanger, ex-founder of Wikipedia: "Fauci is a bureaucrat, not a scientist."
- Matt Whitlock, political strategist: "Now I want to know what Dr Fauci thinks happened on January 6th that Senator Cruz should be prosecuted for. Genuinely don't understand the strategy of continuing to have him on Sunday shows almost every week - the audience he can influence only continues to shrink."
- Noam Blum, Tablet Magazine: "An appallingly bad thing for someone in his position to be saying. Not a shred of humility about any of the things he got wrong, had to waffle on, or later took back or equivocated. Instead goes all Fauci XIV and says 'la science c'est moi.' Yikes."
- Dan McLaughlin, National Review: "Is Dr. Fauci under the impression that nobody is being prosecuted for Jan. 6? Or is he saying Ted Cruz should be prosecuted for speech & debate on the Senate floor?"
TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA CBS NEWS:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Why do you feel so strongly about that, about staying on the job when you become, I mean, you were personally not just rhetorically threatened, your security, your safety, your family? How did you deal with that?
DR. FAUCI: I dealt with it by focusing on what my job is. Fron the time that I went into medicine to right now, where I am at my age, my job has been totally focused on doing what I can with the talents and the influence I had to make scientific advances to protect the health of the American public. So, anybody who spins lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense, that's noise, Margaret, that's noise. I know what my job is.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Cruz told the attorney general you should be prosecuted.
DR. FAUCI: Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that this is about making you a scapegoat to deflect-
DR. FAUCI: Of course-
MARGARET BRENNAN: -From President Trump?
DR. FAUCI: Of course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there are a lot of Republican senators taking aim at this. I mean-
DR. FAUCI: That's OK, I'm just going to do my job and I'm going to be saving lives and they're going to be lying.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It just, it seems, another layer of danger to play politics around matters of life and death.
DR. FAUCI: Right, exactly. Exactly. And to me, that's- that's unbelievably bad because all I want to do is save people's lives. That's what I have done for the last 50 years, 40 of which was, 37 of which was leading the institute. And when I see people who scattered around misinformation and lies that can actually endanger the lives of people, but also it is very easy to pick out an individual and make them a target because that's what people can focus on. But you're talking about systems, you're talking about the CDC, you're talking about the FDA, you're talking about science in general. So if they want to- I mean, anybody who's looking at this carefully realizes that there's a distinct anti-science flavor to this. So if they get up and criticize science, nobody's going to know what they're talking about. But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize there's a person there. There's a face, there's a voice you can recognize, you see him on television. So it's easy to criticize, but they're really criticizing science because I represent science. That's dangerous. To me, that's more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me. I'm not going to be around here forever, but science is going to be here forever. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave. And that's what I worry about.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And in real world terms, what does that mean? Does that mean you fear vaccination rates go down? Does that mean the next national emergency people just don't listen to the doctors. What- what do you mean?
DR. FAUCI: Yeah, what I'm concerned about is that if you put science aside and if you discredit science, you start to discredit the truth of what it takes to get people their health preserved, prevent disease, treat disease. When you do that, you are going to really disrupt society in very many respects, and that's what I worry about. I mean, anybody who looks at what's going on in the United States, to say there's not a lot of- lies become normalized now, and the social media amplifies the normalization of lies. So scientists try to say this is the truth, and it's based on data. That's what we live by, data, evidence, truth. And then you all of a sudden have permeating in society, it is OK to say anything you want that is patently, obviously wrong. And if you say it long enough and often enough and you get social media involved, then everybody- not everybody, X percent of the population starts believing it. See, that's what I worry about more than people throwing slings and arrows at me because my whole life has been as a scientist and I identify with the field of health and science. And if you're attacking me, you're really attacking science. I mean, everybody knows that.