Good riddance to Tony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci announced last week he would resign in December as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Fauci, who, in his 30-plus years as a professional bureaucrat, bumbled his way through not one but two major health crises, can’t go away soon enough. He was the worst possible man at the worst possible moment when the HIV/AIDS epidemic hit, and he was the worst possible man at the worst possible moment when the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States. Perhaps he can be given a mulligan for his mishandling of the AIDS crisis, but his similar mismanagement of COVID-19 suggests a man chronically out of his depth.
In fact, insofar as his COVID-19 “leadership” is concerned, Fauci likely did more harm than good. Indeed, between his disastrous and oftentimes contradictory directives, his ratfink partisan gamesmanship, his smarmy and off-putting air of self-importance, and his outright dishonesty, America is worse off for his “public service,” as his “leadership” these past few years has tarnished beyond recognition the credibility of the health agency he ostensibly served.
Let’s begin with the dishonesty, as it’s the most egregious of Fauci’s offenses.
When COVID-19 struck in America, it wasn't long before some suggested the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China — a lab Fauci kept awash in U.S. dollars. Fauci, naturally, denied this theory, characterizing those who backed it as crackpots and cranks. Later, in 2021, when it became increasingly likely the virus did indeed originate at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and evidence suggested Fauci himself approved a significant portion of the lab's funding, "America's doctor" simply revised the historical record, claiming he was always open to the possibility.
Speaking of the lab leak theory: Fauci may have lied when he told Congress the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is just one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health, did not support “gain of function” research at the Wuhan facility.
Following his congressional testimony, the Intercept, citing more than 900 pages of internal documents, confirmed the Fauci-led NIAID absolutely helped fund the Chinese lab's “bat coronavirus research."
More specifically, one federal grant provided a group called EcoHealth Alliance “with a total of $3.1 million, including $599,000 that the Wuhan Institute of Virology used in part to identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans,” the Intercept reported. “Even before the pandemic, many scientists were concerned about the potential dangers associated with such experiments. The grant proposal acknowledges some of those dangers: 'Fieldwork involves the highest risk of exposure to SARS or other CoVs, while working in caves with high bat density overhead and the potential for fecal dust to be inhaled.'"
Fauci said later he didn’t technically lie about NIAID's role in the Wuhan coronavirus research operation because the work done there did not technically meet the technical definition of gain-of-function research. It’s worth noting the technical definition comes directly from the NIH, whose sub-department, the NIAID, did indeed fund bat research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
But what did you expect if not these too-cute-by-half games of semantics? If there’s one thing Fauci is good at, it’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.
For example, in the early days of the pandemic, he downplayed and even discouraged the use of masks, saying they’d do little to protect against the virus. He admitted later he lied, explaining he did it to ensure there were enough masks to go around for hospitals and front-line workers. Even more amazing than the fact he lied, and the fact he copped to it, is he complained later of “an anti-science bias” in the U.S., where people “just don't believe science, and they don't believe authority.”
Later, in 2021, he backed Vice President Kamala Harris’s bald-faced lie about the Biden White House having to put together a vaccine distribution plan from “scratch.”
"I believe what the vice president is referring to is what is the process of actually getting these doses into people,” he told CNN.
Earlier, however, Fauci confirmed Biden’s team did not have to “start from scratch” because there was already “activity going on in the distribution” of vaccine doses that had been set into motion by the Trump administration.
Fauci’s dishonesty makes much more sense when you realize everything he did regarding COVID-19 seemed to be entirely off-the-cuff. It was as if he had no idea what he was doing.
In December 2020, Fauci claimed the United Kingdom “rushed” its vaccine development and distribution process. He backtracked later, explaining he merely got ahead of himself. He also encouraged double-masking, saying, “It just makes common sense that it would be more effective.” He backtracked later, saying, “There’s no data that indicates that that is going to make a difference.” Then, for reasons which are not entirely clear, he promoted masking for the vaccinated, undercutting his earlier promise that the vaccines would make for a return to normalcy.
“If, in fact, you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you do not need to wear a mask outdoors or indoors,” he said. But he also said, “Even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask.”
Regarding social distancing and children, Fauci said, “When the children go out into the community, you want them to continue to wear masks." But he also said, “Children outside … don’t have to wear a mask.”
As if the dishonesty and contradictory messages weren’t bad enough, Fauci did all this while promoting himself as the unassailable king of science.
When certain Republican lawmakers first suggested prosecuting Fauci for his duplicitous and questionable management of the pandemic, he proclaimed himself a martyr for "science."
“[T]hey’re really criticizing science because I represent science,” he said. "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.”
To quote the great Tom Waits: Come down off the cross. We can use the wood.
Later, Fauci bragged about the so-called “Fauci Effect,” saying, "What I symbolize in an era of the normalization of untruths and lies and all the things you're seeing going on in society, from Jan. 6 to everything else that goes on, people are craving for consistency, for integrity, for truth."
He continued, saying, “People go to medical school, now, people are interested in science, not because of me — because most people don’t know me, who I am; my friends know me, my wife knows me — people don’t know me; it’s what I symbolize.”
Lastly, there’s the fact Fauci conducted himself as a partisan operative during the pandemic, and not as an impartial man of science. He regularly attacked Republican governors, most especially Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for disagreeing with his commandments, all while heaping praise on Democratic governors, including disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for obediently following his harmful and counterproductive guidance.
New York is “doing really well,” Fauci once boasted, “[it] has a governor and a mayor in the city who understand what it means to go by the guidelines.”
How did things end up working out for Florida and New York, respectively?
Florida and New York ended up having comparable COVID-19 death rates, which is really something considering the former has a much larger population of elderly residents. The comparable rates are especially fascinating given New York embraced Fauci's lockdown guidance, while Florida's schools and businesses remained largely open. Floridians were trusted to make their own risk assessments. New York residents and their economy suffered enormously for Fauci's guidance, whereas Florida’s economy added tens of thousands of jobs and attracted new residents from across the country, including many who fled the Empire State.
It seems obvious, then, that the only reason Fauci saw fit to make a habit of attacking DeSantis by name is that Florida’s governor was one of few public figures willing to tell him to pound sand, not because the governor’s leadership was uniquely dangerous. The numbers don’t lie. New York did exactly as Fauci demanded, and it got basically the same results as Florida — just with none of the freedoms or benefits.
As DeSantis made it possible for Florida to flourish while other states shriveled, Fauci pushed for nationwide lockdowns. In fact, state and local officials explicitly justified their disastrous lockdown protocols by referencing Fauci’s high, holy edicts. Fauci pushed hard for harmful restrictions, using both the full weight of his authority and the credibility of his agency, both in the early and latter stages of the pandemic, to attack anyone who dared to question his “science,” even when it became clear his recommendations were not only ineffective but actually harmful.
And let's not forget: Where Fauci was eager to criticize people such as DeSantis, he was all too unwilling to criticize the anti-police protesters in the summer of 2020, even despite their clear and flagrant disregard for his all-important, all-knowing social distancing protocols.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. Fauci, an astonishingly arrogant animal of Washington, badly mismanaged the pandemic, attacking as heretics anyone who disagreed with his disastrous “leadership." He did this all while enjoying lavish praise, awards, and glowing publicity heaped upon him by a media and political class that believed him when he declared himself Science Jesus.
So, no. We won’t be missing Tony Fauci. You won’t see any tears here for his long overdue departure.
You likely won’t see any tears on his end either, considering he’s riding off into the sunset with a hefty retirement pension estimated at around $350,000 per year, a feted hero of the press and the Democratic Party.
Becket Adams is the program director of the National Journalism Center.
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