Anthony Fauci: ‘Absolutely’ Will Not Resign; ‘I Am Not an Obstacle to Getting Vaccinations Up’

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, rejected a resignation proposal offered to him by Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday while denying the public broadly distrusts him.

In the interview, Hewitt characterized Fauci as an obstacle to the federal government’s pursuit of increasing national vaccination rates against COVID-19. More Americans would accept the coronavirus vaccinations if Fauci were to resign, he estimated.

Doctors prepare syringes with Moderna vaccine at a mobile vaccination on May 06, 2021 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Doctors prepare syringes with Moderna vaccine at a mobile vaccination on May 06, 2021, in Cologne, Germany (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images).

Fauci said he “absolutely, unequivocally” rejects the idea of resigning after Hewitt invited him to do so.

Hewitt said Fauci was doing “more harm than good” and had lost the public’s confidence given his ongoing tenure as director of the NIH and as the president’s top medical adviser.

Partial transcript:

HEWITT: It’s just a fact that Tony Fauci — not the guy I’m talking with, but Tony Fauci, the person in people’s minds — is now an impediment to public health because people won’t listen to you. They actively reject what Tony Fauci says — for reasons which are complicated [and] have to do with psychology, mass communication, social media — but can you accept that if that’s just a fact, you ought to respond to it and say, “Mr. President, I think my time is up as a successful and effective spokesperson”?

FAUCI: You know, with all due respect to you, Hugh — I do respect you and your intellect — I just completely disagree with that premise, because there are an awful lot of people who do listen, who do the right things from a public health standpoint. 

So because there are a lot of people who have ideas about conspiracies and changing minds and flip-flopping, that’s not a reason to step down, not at all. … The idea that people right now are not listening to what I’m saying, what I’m saying is the truth.

HEWITT: I absolutely agree. I got the booster. I’m Mr. Vaccine. I get the same kind of heat you do. So what I’m saying now is there comes a point where it is simply a matter of fact that Tony Fauci — in the era of social media — is different than Tony Fauci at the beginning of HIV. 

If a new face for the [vaccine] program developed, we would see an increase in vaccines, and an increase in booster use. So if that data is presented to you — that more people would get vaccinated if you left the scene — would you leave the scene?

FAUCI: Hugh, I think that is a completely false narrative that people are not getting vaccinated because of me. I am very sorry. I’ve told you I’ve known you a long time, and I respect you, but I totally reject that people are not getting vaccinated because of me. Are you kidding me? Come on…

HEWITT: I’m trying to explain you the truth. I got vaccinated because of you, but there is a large segment of the American people that doesn’t trust you now, and that can’t be undone. So I want you to be able to just speak to them. I know your heart. I know that you’re public service, but if you’re an obstacle to getting vaccination rates up, should you step aside?

FAUCI: I am not an obstacle to getting vaccinations up, Hugh. That is a completely false narrative that I would have to absolutely reject.

Fauci said it was “ridiculous” to link public distrust of him to rejection of the coronavirus vaccines.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.