Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday dismissed concerns that he is a polarizing figure, saying he merely speaks truths that may be “inconvenient for some people,” causing them to lash out.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace noted that Fauci was “generally regarded as the authority on infectious diseases” when the COVID-19 pandemic began but that as time has gone on, he has become a polarizing figure.
He added that critics accuse Fauci of having sent mixed signals on public-health issues and also of helping fund dangerous research at the Wuhan lab before asking Fauci why he believes he’s become “so controversial” and asked if Fauci had done anything to contribute to that.
“Well, I’m not so sure I could answer the latter because I can’t think of anything but I’m sure some people will,” Fauci said. “I have stood for always making science, data and evidence be what we guide ourselves by and I think people who feel differently, who have conspiracy theories, who deny reality that’s looking them straight in the eye, those are people that don’t particularly care for me.”
Fauci on why he thinks he's become polarizing: "People [who] have conspiracy theories, who deny reality that's looking them straight in the eye, those are ppl that don't particularly care for me. And that's understandable… sometimes the truth becomes inconvenient for some ppl." pic.twitter.com/5OLmYeGaPn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2021
He continued: “And that’s understandable because what I do and I try very hard is to be guided by the truth and sometimes the truth becomes inconvenient for some people so they react against me. That just is what it is, there’s not much I can do about that, Chris.”
Fauci has been criticized for repeated flip-flopping on his support for vaccine mandates and the effectiveness of masks. Earlier this month, he said it was too soon to tell whether families would be able to gather for the holidays this year, regardless of vaccination status. However, he quickly reversed course, saying he encourages people to have a “good, normal Christmas with your family.”
He has also advocated mask-wearing in schools despite concerns that long-term mask-wearing can cause physical and developmental issues in children and that there is little evidence to support a mandate.
Fauci faced calls t0 resign by many Republicans earlier this year after thousands of his emails were released through a Freedom of Information Act filing. The emails show Fauci’s early dismissals of the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. They also show that Fauci brushed off a message warning of Chinese disinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, a new book from an Australian reporter details how Fauci reportedly misled the Trump administration on dangerous gain-of-function research in China. It claims Fauci tried to convince White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to bring funding back to a research project in China run by a U.S. nonprofit called EcoHealth alliance.
“Fauci’s public persona as a cautious, careful medical professional is contradicted by his central role in kickstarting exceptionally fraught gain-of-function research in the United States after the ban introduced in the Obama era, along with his role in funding coronavirus research in China in unsafe laboratories. Laboratories that intelligence agencies suspect may have sparked the pandemic,” Sharri Markson writes in “What Really Happened In Wuhan.”
Fauci has previously claimed that attacks on him “are attacks on science.”
“All of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science,” Fauci said during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd in June. “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’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you’re attacking science.”