Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a White House press briefing, at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday lashed out at critics calling for his ouster, blasting their “preposterous” and “painfully ridiculous” attacks and defending his record as a leading official battling the coronavirus pandemic.
“Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” Fauci said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, pulled few punches as he directly rebutted critics who have attacked his prior remarks on the origins of the virus and on wearing masks to prevent transmission, along with a raft of conspiracy theories.
“If you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately,” Fauci said. “I mean, every single one.”
Fauci also flatly dismissed a conspiracy theory about him and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that had been pushed by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
“I don’t want to be pejorative of a United States senator, but I have no idea what she’s talking about,” Fauci said after listening to the senator’s claims.
Fauci, the 80-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, maintained that his views on the origins of the coronavirus have not changed, even as the theory of a lab-leak pandemic has recently become more mainstream.
Saying that a natural-origin scenario is more likely “doesn’t mean there is a closed mind to it being a leak,” Fauci said, “even though many people feel, myself included, that still the most likely origin is a natural one.”
“I haven’t changed my mind,” Fauci said, adding he still feels “the same way” about the lab-leak theory that he did previously.
“You want to keep an open mind. It’s a possibility. I believe it’s a highly unlikely possibility, and I believe that the most important one, that you look at what scientists feel, is very likely that it was a natural origin,” Fauci said.
He said he’s “very much in favor” of further investigation into Covid’s origins.
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