Amid ongoing criticism and threats to his safety, former White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that disparaging remarks, particularly from GOP presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., have compelled him to maintain a security detail.
DeSantis reportedly made a statement urging someone to “toss that little elf across the Potomac,” as revealed on MSNBC’s “Mehdi Hasan Show” on Thursday. Host Mehdi Hasan played a clip from a past rally during which DeSantis referred to Fauci in this manner.
In both the Trump and Biden administrations, Fauci emerged as a polarizing figure in politics. His pandemic policies, including mandates for masks and COVID-19 vaccinations, have made him a frequent target of criticism from DeSantis and other members of the Republican Party.
“Somebody that doesn’t know anything about me, who’s crazy, says, ‘Wow, I’m going to go get that person,’ or, ‘That person should be killed,’ or, ‘That person should be prosecuted.’ That’s the reason I have to have security,” he said.
“Gov. DeSantis doesn’t personally want to hurt me. He’s triggering people who are bad and really want to hurt people. That’s the problem,” Fauci added.
Republicans’ perception of Fauci soured when he opposed former President Donald Trump on COVID-19 matters.
“I’m the one that had to, in an uncomfortable way … disagree with the president of the United States. That was very painful for me. But I felt that to just maintain my own personal, professional integrity and responsibility to the American public, I had to say it like it was, and I had to do it publicly,” Fauci said.
“That triggered a degree of negativity towards me on the part of the far-right,” he said, adding that attacks like that encourage actual acts of violence.
Criticizing the Trump and Biden administrations’ COVID-19 responses has been a significant aspect of DeSantis’ presidential campaign, with Fauci being a frequent target. The governor and presidential candidate often asserts that Florida prioritized “freedom over Fauci-ism,” a recurring slogan on his campaign trail.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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