There’s no political downside for a Republican to call for the firing of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Sen. Marco Rubio is among those on the right calling for the dismissal of the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The second-term Senator from Florida, up for reelection next year, recommended Fauci’s removal in an op-ed (“If Biden believes in science, he must fire Fauci“) published Saturday on the Fox News website.
The Senator contends that Fauci curated information at his personal whim, as most vividly illustrated by his suppression of theories that the novel coronavirus emerged from a lab and not from an interspecies transmission with bats.
“It was a massive failure in judgment for a prominent public health official — though in retrospect unsurprising, given his history of holding back the truth based on personal judgments about when he thinks the American people are ‘ready’ to hear the facts,” the Senator slammed.
Rubio brings receipts, including an April quote from National Geographic in which Fauci said COVID-19 “was in the wild, to begin with. That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.”
A year and a half into the pandemic, Beijing has yet to produce any evidence of said virus being “in the wild,” meanwhile.
Rubio moves on to contend that “Fauci is exploiting his position in government — and his ill-deserved positive reputation in the liberal media — to willfully misrepresent what is meant by a lab leak, conflating it with a biological weapons program (which is just one possible motive for gain-of-function research in Wuhan). That, or he’s showing his age.”
“Our work to shed light on COVID-19’s origins has just begun, but one thing is clear: Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly demonstrated a history of moving goal-posts when it comes to public health, withholding facts that don’t conform with his own narrative, and issuing inappropriate personal judgments that distort the truth,” Rubio adds.
The op-ed comes in the wake of some sharp exchanges between Rubio and Fauci in a Senate committee hearing, in which Fauci continued to stress the possibility that the virus evolved on its own as “extremely strong.”
The White House, of course, has no intention of firing Fauci. President Joe Biden is “very confident” in him, he told reporters Friday.
With Fauci’s tenure not in danger, he will serve as a punching back for Rubio and other Florida Republicans who chafe at so-called “Fauci-ism.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis, with the highest media profile of any Republican in the state, continues to sharpen his critiques of the doctor, chiding his willingness to do media appearances during his own robust interview schedule.
“(O)bviously, he does so many interviews that it was pretty clear to me that after a short time that this was about himself and his own image,” DeSantis snarked on Fox News this week. “For me, you look at that magazine cover where he’s lounging by the pool with the sunglasses on, you know, right in the midst of a pandemic. It was almost like a let them eat cake moment for all the people who were chafing under his lockdowns, and yet he seemed to be having the time of his life.”