Dr. Anthony Fauci criticized Tucker Carlson on Friday, saying the Fox News host “triggers some of the crazies in society” to threaten him.
Fauci, the top US infectious-diseases expert on the White House coronavirus task force, made the comment in a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post’s Geoff Edgers on Instagram Live.
When asked whether he had heard of Carlson, Fauci said: “He’s the guy that really loves me, right?”
Edgers went on to recite various criticisms the Fox News host had made of Fauci in recent weeks — such as “Unelected Fauci has been leading this country” — and asked if it bothered or concerned Fauci.
Fauci responded: “I’m not concerned about what he says. It’s a little bit — I think you could say that when he does that, it triggers some of the crazies in society to start threatening me, actually threatening, which actually happens.”
Fauci and his family were assigned personal security after receiving threats to him and his family last month.
He told The Washington Post on Friday: “I mean, who would have thought when I was in medical school doing things to save people’s lives, I’d have to be going around with a security detail? That’s really ridiculous.”
In the interview, Fauci also said that he does not pay attention to people who appear to idolize him, saying: “I actually don’t pay attention to that, because that can really be distracting. I mean that sincerely.”
“I don’t see the hero part, and I don’t pay attention to the death threats and harassments either. We live in an extraordinary society where public-health issues become so politicized and divisive that when you start talking about prudent things to do to preserve public health, that’s actually considered by some — hopefully a really small minority — by some as something worthy of threatening you. That’s really bizarre.”
You can watch this segment in the video below. It appears around the 16-minute mark.
He also defended White House coronavirus czar Dr. Deborah Birx from the criticism she has received in recent weeks, saying she has a “very, very difficult job.”
Earlier this month, she came under fire from both sides of the political aisle.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Birx had “enabled” the president and has not done enough to confront his baseless coronavirus claims. President Donald Trump later tweeted that Birx “took the bait & hit us” by offering a grim assessment of the US outbreak.
Fauci was also asked for his opinion on Dr. Scott Atlas, the newly-hired White House coronavirus adviser who has vocally criticized lockdown measures, and called on schools and college football to restart. Fauci said he only met Atlas a few days ago and would not form an opinion of him until he works with him more.
He also criticized the country’s division over public health — contrasting those who follow health rules and those who see “public health as an obstacle to opening the country,” and mask-wearers and anti-maskers.
He said: “It should be society pulling as a whole to get this darn thing under control.””
Fauci also said that he last spoke to Trump “just a couple days ago” when he briefed the president on vaccines, seemingly dispelling the idea that Trump was sidelining him.
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