The veteran virologist and longtime National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease director spoke out about his status as a Republican bete noire during an interview on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto Coast to Coast programme.
Dr Fauci’s appearance on the Rupert Murdoch-owned network was his first since a 17 October sitdown with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, and comes after months of increasingly heated partisan attacks against him from some of the right-wing outlet’s most prominent personalities.
One Fox host, former CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, drew widespread condemnation earlier this week when she compared the top government infectious disease expert to Dr Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor and war criminal who became infamous for experimenting on prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Another Fox host, Tucker Carlson, has compared him to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and referred to the physician as the “patron saint of Wuhan”.
But Dr Fauci told Cavuto that he has little interest in what people think of him after he was asked about Republicans’ increasingly negative view of him.
“I’m not running a popularity contest for myself. I’m a physician. I’m a scientist, and I’m a public health person,” Dr Fauci said.
“The only thing the I care about… is helping to preserve and protect the health of the American public … that’s what I’ve done for the 50 years I’ve been a physician and for the almost 40 years that I’ve been the director of the institute, so whether people on one side or the other like me or don’t like me, that’s not relevant to me,” he said. “What I do is I focus on my job, and that is to get us out of this pandemic which has already killed 780,000 Americans”
Dr Fauci, who first rose to prominence as a top expert on HIV-Aids in the 1980s, has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, and is one of the most cited scientists in the world according to a Google Scholar analysis of medical literature. But he has also become a top target of Republicans who’ve sought to pin blame on him for the pandemic in order to distract from missteps made in the Trump administration’s early response to it.
Continuing, he told Cavuto that talk of whether Americans like him or approve of him is “noise” and “really meaningless stuff”.
“My job is to help the American public, and that’s the only thing I focus on,” he said.