Republicans have hated Dr. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ever since it became clear that he was interested in the actual science of COVID-19 and not just blindly peddling whatever self-serving messaging then-President Trump was spewing to his credulous supporters.
The election of President Biden only exacerbated the growing conservative hatred for the good doctor and it’s now reaching its apotheosis in the wake of the release of a trove of Fauci’s emails. The documents were obtained via the Freedom for Information Act and offer a look at how Fauci conducted himself at the height of the pandemic. They reveal him to be the hardworking, compassionate professional many of us have long seen him as.
That said, one particular email has become the source of rapidly spreading conspiracy theories within the right-wing sphere. It was sent to Fauci from an individual at the EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that funds scientific research and which was involved with the virology lab in Wuhan, China where have some have speculated that COVID-19 originated.
The email itself appears entirely innocuous but Republicans are using it to claim that Fauci has been intentionally hiding the origins of the virus and that he perhaps even had a hand in its creation — all without evidence. Fauci explained to CNN that the email is being misconstrued.
“You can misconstrue it however you want — that email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak,” said Fauci.
The fact that Fauci and those he was working with to understand the virus considered the possibility that it might be manmade shouldn’t come as a surprise as it would have been utterly irresponsible to not even consider the idea. But emails showing he considered it doesn’t mean he concluded that such was the case.
Of course, right-wingers never let something like the truth get in the way of a good narrative and prominent Republicans are leading the charge to have Fauci fired and even face criminal consequences for his imagined crimes.
Was Dr. Fauci’s response to the pandemic absolutely perfect? Of course not, nobody’s could have been during such a terrifying, unprecedented historic crisis. But this man is a stalwart public servant and this right-wing smear campaign is nothing more than a cynical attempt to lay the blame for the failures of the Trump administration’s pandemic response at the feet of anyone other than Trump himself.
Tucker Carlson segment on Dr. Fauci's emails, which show his implication in the gain-of-function research that may have led to covid-19:
"From the beginning, Tony Fauci was worried that the public might conclude covid had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology." pic.twitter.com/OaW98mwOj9
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 3, 2021
In the newly released #FauciEmails, Dr. Fauci thanked EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak for his “kind note” that praised him for downplaying the lab leak theory.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 2, 2021
Firing Fauci does not go far enough. Anthony Fauci needs to be tried and put into federal prison. He ruined millions of lives via depression, bankruptcy, suicide, & preyed on children via school. He (and many others) have taken part in the crime of the century.
We all knew it.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 2, 2021
The disgraced former president himself also attacked Dr. Fauci over his emails. Since he deservedly still can’t access his banned Twitter account he had to release his statement indirectly. True to form, he bragged about the inadequate measures he implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 before claiming that Fauci “didn’t put an emphasis on speed of vaccine production” and was “totally against masks.”
Trump ended his statement by floating the Wuhan lab conspiracy theories about Fauci.
NEW Trump statement on Fauci: pic.twitter.com/mYexvw1tPd
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) June 3, 2021
One statement wasn’t enough to sate Trump’s thirst for attention and he released another shortly after. He said that “even the so-called enemy” are now agreeing that he was right about the “China Virus.”
Presumably, “the so-called enemy” are Democratic voters. The choice of word is telling, as it shows that he viewed roughly 31% of Americans not as citizens to govern fairly during his time as office but adversaries to be crushed.
Trump then stated that the “correspondance between Dr. Fauci and China speaks too loudly for anyone to ignore,” a remark that manages to be both misleading and amibguous enough that his supporters can interpret in anyway they like. Given the past behavior of the MAGA crowd, there is unfortunately the possibility that some will see this as their cult leader giving them the green light for violence. Reckless doesn’t even begin to describe Trump’s behavior here.
TRUMP releases another statement about Fauci: pic.twitter.com/YuJfFn4lDG
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) June 3, 2021
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.