Dr. Anthony Fauci opened up about how former President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories have impacted his life during the coronavirus pandemic. In a new interview with The New York Times, Fauci revealed that he received death threats and possibly even real attacks from those who believed he had misled the public about COVID-19. Even with a new president in the White House, the disinformation campaign is not over.
Fauci spoke to reporters about his lengthy career and how it culminated in this historic emergency — and how the Trump administration mishandled that emergency for a year. Some of the most shocking points of the interview were about the threats Fauci faced, including constant threats against himself and his family. He said: "It was the harassment of my wife, and particularly my children, that upset me more than anything else. They knew where my kids work, where they live."
"The threats would come directly to my children's phones, directly to my children's homes. How the hell did whoever these assh—s were get that information?" Fauci wondered bluntly. "And there was chatter on the internet, people talking to each other, threatening, saying, 'Hey, we got to get rid of this guy. What are we going to do about him? He's hurting the president's chances.' You know, that kind of right-wing craziness."
Fauci also confirmed that he still has a Secret Service detail and has had one since early April. When the interviewer asked when Fauci got his first death threat, the Secret Service operative present had a precise answer ready: March 28.
Fauci said that he was not ever shot at or confronted in public but did relay one terrifying incident when he got what may have been a chemical attack in the mail. He said: "One day I got a letter in the mail, I opened it up and a puff of powder came out all over my face and my chest."
"That was very, very disturbing to me and my wife because it was in my office," he continued. "So I just looked at it all over me and said, 'What do I do?' The security detail was there, and they're very experienced in that. They said, 'Don't move, stay in the room.' And they got the hazmat people. So they came, they sprayed me down and all that."0comments
Fauci said that the powder turned out to be benign thankfully, but left no doubt that he believed such attacks and threats were caused directly by Trump's rhetoric. When asked if he told anyone in the White House about the powder, he said: "Who was I going to tell? What good would it be to tell anyone?"
Fauci was grateful to have President Joe Biden in office, believing he would be more receptive to scientific input. However, he also acknowledged that the threats from the far-right are unlikely to go away entirely.