Dr. Anthony Fauci said that ‘divisiveness has failed America in every single way’ as he revealed that he and his family faced death threats from 'crazies' who believe that the coronavirus was a hoax.
‘We've had a complete distortion and throwing aside of scientific facts and evidence,’ Fauci told CBS This Morning on Sunday.
‘And a certain part of the country believed the hoax aspect, the fake news aspect.
‘The other half was longing for clarity, longing for facts, longing for truth.
‘So, for better or worse, for one reason or other, I became a symbol that was unrealistic. like Saint Anthony.
‘You know, it's kinda, OK, great, but that's not reality.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS This Morning on Sunday that he and his family have faced death threats from 'crazies'
Fauci is seen above jogging with his wife, Christine Grady, while two armed federal agents provide security. 'I've had people who have threatened my life because I'm speaking public health measures,’ Fauci said
Fauci was shown a picture by CBS News' Ted Koppel that read 'Say no to the prick,' a message circulated by anti-vaxxers
‘On the other hand, I've had people who have threatened my life because I'm speaking public health measures,’ Fauci said.
Fauci, the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a prominent member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, said that it ‘infuriates me’ that ‘the crazies’ managed to track down the phone numbers of his three daughters, who have been harassed.
Fauci, a frequent jogger, had to have security agents accompany him on his runs for fear someone might try to harm him.
‘It came to that,’ Fauci said of needing a security detail on his jogs.
‘I've triggered such animosity that I have to have federal agents, armed federal agents, with me, like, all the time.’
Fauci said he is particularly bothered by the angst caused to his family.
‘I have to tell you, I'm not afraid of myself, for myself,’ Fauci said.
‘But the thing that really is disturbing to me is the harassment, continual harassment, of my three daughters.
‘The crazies, you know, know who they are, know where they live, know what their telephone number is, know where they work.
‘It infuriates me.’
Fauci is seen bottom right with his wife, Christine Grady, and their daughters Jennifer, Megan, and Alison, in the 1990s. Fauci said that it 'infuriates' him to learn that people have been harassing his daughters at their places of work
Fauci said he thought he might die when he was covered in white powder from a letter sent in the wake of death threats against him and his family.
The infectious diseases expert, 80, detailed how he opened the note received in the mail to be covered in what turned out to be 'a benign nothing'.
He told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday: 'But it was frightening...I looked at it somewhat fatalistically.
'It had to be one of three things: A hoax. Or anthrax, which meant I’d have to go on Cipro for a month. Or if it was ricin, I was dead, so bye-bye.'
Fauci was asked about claims made by conspiracy theorists, including Dr. Judy Mikovits, that he 'manufactured' the coronavirus.
Mikovits is a former research scientist and virologist who was featured in last spring's viral online video Plandemic, and made claims that have been widely discredited.
Fauci says that he 'took no pleasure' in contradicting President Donald Trump, whom he called 'charismatic' while noting that they 'got along very well.'
'I took no pleasure in having to correct clear misrepresentations in the sphere of medicine and science,' Fauci said.
Fauci was asked about the famous images of him putting his hand to his face while Trump was addressing reporters during a White House briefing.
During those briefings, Trump was criticized for making bizarre statements about injecting bleach to treat coronavirus and using the drug hydroxycholoroquine, even though scientific studies show there is no evidence it is effective.
Fauci says that the US handling of the coronavirus pandemic is due to a failure on the part of the Trump administration to provide clear guidance to the public.
Fauci has said he thought he might die when he was covered in white powder from a letter sent in the wake of death threats against him and his family. Fauci, right, Dr. Deborah Birx, left, listen as President Donald Trump speaks on March 20 last year
He cited Trump's refusal to mandate mask wearing while noting that many considered mitigation measures to be a political statement.
'You can't have mixed messaging,' Fauci said.
'You cannot have the politicization of public health messages. I mean, the idea that wearing a mask or not became a political statement?
'That makes it beyond difficult to implement a good public health measure.'
Fauci said that his relationship with the Trump administration began to sour after he publicly contradicted the president.
'That annoyed, I think, his staff, his loyal staff, in some respects even more than it annoyed him,' Fauci said.
'So, that's when things started to go in the wrong direction.'
Fauci added: 'So, the relationship became a bit frayed. And then, when I would see him in the Oval Office, he would act like everything was fine.'
Days before the election, Trump held a campaign rally in which his supporters urged him to 'fire Fauci.'
‘Don’t tell anybody but let me wait til a little bit after the election,’ Trump said in response.
Fauci was asked if 'more consistent leadership' could have saved lives during the pandemic.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks with Dr. Anthony Fauci during a press briefing in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday
Dr Fauci, right, called it 'liberating' Thursday to be backed by a science-friendly administration since the inauguration of Joe Biden, center. The two men are pictured with VP Kamala Harris
'Yeah, I believe so,' Fauci replied.
'I mean, I think if we had had the public health messages – from the top right through down to the people in the trenches – be consistent, that things might have been different.
'In fact, I'm pretty sure they would have been different.'
Fauci, who is now chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, thinks the future is rosier.
'What we're gonna be seeing over the next months is much more of a coordinated, synergistic partnership between the federal government and the states,' Fauci said.
'So, I believe we're gonna see a turnaround in attitude when the federal government and the states start working together much more, as opposed to "You're on your own".'
Fauci praised Biden for his approach to the coroanvirus pandemic, saying it was the new commander-in-chief's 'top priority.'
He said that 'one of the things that was kind of refreshing in one of the first briefings that we had with President Biden and Vice President Harris, is that he said, "We might have setbacks. But you know when that happens what we're gonna do? Is we're not gonna point fingers. We're not gonna blame people. We're not gonna hide anything. We're gonna be totally transparent and honest and we're gonna try and fix it".'
Fauci was asked about the widespread skepticism in this country about scientific views.
'No, there's no vaccination [for it],' he said.
'But I think maybe we have to keep showing by example that being united is much, much better than being divisive.
'Because divisiveness has really failed. I mean, it has failed us in every single way.'