Doctors, political pundits and government officials across the spectrum reacted to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s announcement Monday that he will step down at the end of 2022.
Fauci was lauded by a number of Democratic leaders and activists, including President Joe Biden, after announcing his plans. Conservatives were much harsher, blasting Fauci for a lack of transparency about his dealings with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and inconsistencies in messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a positive development. Especially for NIAID and the NIH. But also for the country,” Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, told the Daily Caller. “The resignation of the serially malfeasant, serially perjurious, NIAID Director will lift a burden from, and remove threat to, operations of NIAID and the NIH. In addition, it will remove the official who has done more than any other over two decades to enable, expand, and excuse high-risk gain-of-function research and to oppose and obstruct strengthened federal oversight of biosafety, biosecurity, and biorisk management.”
Ebright previously accused Fauci, who has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for nearly 40 years, of lying when he denied funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“Dr. Fauci’s retirement after 38 years as director of the NIAID leaves behind a mixed legacy. Under his leadership, the agency has supported the work of many brilliant scientists who have made discoveries that directly benefit the lives of countless patients,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford University professor of medicine. “At the same time, Dr. Fauci’s leadership during the COVID pandemic has been divisive, rigid, and flawed.”
“His advice on lockdowns, school closures, and other restrictions, in particular, ignored the tremendous harm done to children and other vulnerable people by the policies themselves while failing to protect the elderly from COVID,” Dr. Bhattacharya continued. “He deployed his allies in the press to destroy the reputations of scientists who disagreed with his pandemic management, rather than seeking good faith discussions as all scientists should.”
Some critics speculated that Fauci, who also spent the past year and a half serving as President Biden’s top medical adviser, is stepping down to try and avoid potential investigations from Republicans, who are likely to regain control of the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm elections.
“Sociopathic liar and political hack Fauci is making a run for it before Republicans can take over the House,” conservative radio host Buck Sexton tweeted.
Sociopathic liar and political hack Fauci is making a run for it before Republicans can take over the House https://t.co/90utmxYYxm
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) August 22, 2022
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul made a similar observation on Sexton’s radio show Monday. “I’ve thought for some time that he will flee as soon as he thinks that he’ll be given accurate and poignant questions, and I think he won’t want to stand up to the scrutiny,” he said. (RELATED: ‘Try To Cover Your Ass:’ Rand Paul Demands Fauci Resign For Refusing To Admit To Funding Gain Of Function Research In Wuhan)
Some Republicans highlighted past mixed messaging from Fauci. Mick Mulvaney, who served as Acting White House Chief of Staff in the early days of the pandemic, blasted Fauci for flipping on masks.
“I see Tony Fauci is retiring. Hard for me to see him in the fawning light the media does, ever since he told me to go on TV at the onset of COVID and tell people not to wear masks,” Mulvaney tweeted Monday.
I see Tony Fauci is retiring. Hard for me to see him in the fawning light the media does, ever since he told me to go on TV at the onset of COViD and tell people not to wear masks.
I hope @RandPaul gets a chance to dig deeper.
— Mick Mulvaney (@MickMulvaney) August 22, 2022
Various investigations during the pandemic revealed Fauci’s NIAID was funding abusive animal experiments, and some animal rights activists also took a victory lap at the news that Fauci would be stepping down. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: New Dog Experiment Funded By Fauci’s NIAID Revealed To Have Killed 10 Beagles)
“Good riddance to Anthony Fauci, who has the dubious distinction of being the white coat who funded the Wuhan animal lab and the bureaucrat behind #BeagleGate, two major international scandals that White Coat Waste Project first exposed,” said Justin Goodman, senior vice president of advocacy and public policy at nonprofit White Coat Waste Project. “Dr. Fauci has been abusing his authority, taxpayers, and animals for half a century and his retirement shouldn’t get him off the hook.”
PETA, which called for Fauci and former NIH director Francis Collins to both resign over abusive animal experiences, celebrated as well. “Dr. Fauci, like Dr. Faustus, seemed to have sold his soul to the devil, at least when it came to animals. He gave millions of dollars to poison and kill them in go-nowhere experiments, as did his boss, Dr. Francis Collins,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told the Daily Caller. “One of them is already history, and the other is soon to be.”
Fauci has not yet announced his intentions for his post-government life, although he said he would remain active in the medical field. Biden has not named a replacement to be his top medical adviser.