Infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, who frequently contradicted Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about Covid-19, said he and his family were facing harassment and death threats as early as March 2020, when coronavirus had started spreading.
Dr Fauci was part of Mr Trump’s Covid-19 task force, but throughout the year they often found each other at the opposite ends of the spectrum — whether it was about the lockdown, easing of restrictions, spread and threat of the pandemic, or controversial treatment techniques such as the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine on coronavirus patients.
The 80-year-old, who is now the chief medical adviser for President Joe Biden, revealed that the death threats started in mid-March, 2020, and it was the harassment of his wife and particularly his children that upset him more than anything else.
“They knew where my kids work, where they live. The threats would come directly to my children’s phones, directly to my children’s homes,” he told the New York Times in an interview.
Dr Fauci said there “was chatter on the internet, people talking to each other, threatening, saying, ‘Hey, we got to get rid of this guy. What are we going to do about him? He’s hurting the president’s chances.’ You know, that kind of right-wing craziness.”
He revealed that one day he was sent a letter with some sort of a powdered substance in it and when he opened it, he accidentally got it all over his face. That was “very, very disturbing” to him and his wife. “It was a benign nothing. But it was frightening. My wife and my children were more disturbed than I was.”
Watch: Dr. Fauci on new COVID-19 travel restrictions, working with Trump
On contradicting Mr Trump’s claims or about the condition of Covid-19 in the US, Dr Fauci said the president “didn’t get upset at all” but only asked him to take a more positive attitude.
Dr Fauci said he was under severe pressure and during election rallies Mr Trump publicly mused about firing him while the crowds chanted “Fire Fauci.”
Addressing the change in early working conditions in President Biden’s administration, Dr Fauci said that it is a liberating feeling to talk about science.
In another interview with MSNBC News, he opened up about his experiences as a scientist in the Trump administration and called the president's pressure campaigns “chilling”. He noted that scientists could not tell the truth as they felt that the president and his officials wanted to project that everything was under control and improving.
“This is my seventh administration… and I’ve been advising administrations and presidents on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, people with different ideologies, and even with differences in ideology, there never was this real affront on science,” said Dr Fauci.