MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell asked Outgoing National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci how difficult it was to stand next to then-President Donald Trump saying things that “are not accurate about public health,” Tuesday on her show “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
Partial transcript as follows:
MITCHELL: So you are standing next to the president in all these COVID briefings. How difficult is it for you when you hear him saying things that you know are not accurate about public health?
FAUCI: It’s difficult because I have a great deal of respect for the office the presidency of the United States as I do for all government institutions. But I felt I had to speak up against and contradict what he said not only for my own professional and personal integrity but my responsibility to the American public, when you hear things being said that are just not true. The people on the far-right somehow construe that I enjoyed that, that I was trying to undermine him. I did not enjoy that at all. I just felt very uncomfortable but I had to do it.
MITCHELL: So when you hear the president of the United States promoting hydroxychloroquine for COVID.
MITCHELL: And listening to advisors like a doctor from California and his trade advisor, and the government, the federal government spending, according to some reports, $20 million to buy that, stockpile other for COVID. What– what can you do in your role?
FAUCI: Speak up like I did. And it didn’t help much, because he just kept on doing what he wanted to do. But it had the result of creating a phenomenal amount of hostility against me among the people around him, which has spilled over into the people who are very much listening to everything that he has said. And that has made it very uncomfortable, the reason why I’m getting so many threats against me.
MITCHELL: Do you think that lives were lost because of the way all of this became so polarized?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, if– you know, I– when I say things like that, it gets thrown out of proportion in sound bites. The but fact is vaccines save lives. If you say something or do something to dissuade people from getting vaccinated, then lives will unnecessarily be lost. That’s just a fact.
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