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‘Unequivocally no. Sorry.’ Obstinate Fauci says he will not step down under rare grilling on lost trust

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Dr. Anthony Fauci made a somewhat surprising appearance on conservative Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Wednesday and was grilled about whether he should step aside as chief White House medical advisor given that many Americans have lost confidence in him, rendering him a deterrent in the Biden administration’s ongoing pandemic efforts.

Hewitt listed some of the controversies that have emerged over time, be it about the vaccine, the use of Ivermectin, and the avoidance of natural immunity. Hewitt even mentioned Fauci’s “noble lie” early on, when he discouraged Americans from wearing masks.

“I have lost confidence in the CDC and the FDA and I actually believe a lot of Americans, a significant part of America now have lost confidence in you, Dr. Fauci,” he said. “Is there a point where you will say, ‘I do more harm than good because people don’t listen to me anymore,’ and step aside?”

“No. Absolutely, unequivocally no. Sorry,” Fauci replied. “When you have an evolving situation and data are rapidly evolving in something that is unprecedented and unknown, you have to evolve with it and look at the data as it exists now and make to the best of your ability a decision, a recommendation, all the kinds of things that go into the evolution.”

So there you have it, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases was “evolving” along with the data.

“I always get asked the question, it’s a very common question, what would you have done back then if you knew what you know now,” he added. “The question answers itself. If I knew then what I know now the circumstances would have been different. So if this were a completely static situation and people change their mind and change their recommendations you could say, ‘My goodness they’re flip-flopping what’s going on?’ But it’s been an evolving situation from day one. We had no idea that a virus that could actually kill so many people would be completely asymptomatic in about 50 to 60 percent of people and that many of the infections, almost half, were transmitted by people who had no symptoms that’s where the mask situation got all muddled.”

Hewitt addressed the mask issue to say he “understands” that Fauci lied about the masks to prevent a run on N95 masks, which were in short supply at the time — he also called it “bad policy.”

“It’s just a fact that Tony Fauci, not the guy I’m talking with but Tony Fauci — the person in people’s minds, is now an impediment to public health because people won’t listen to you,” Hewitt said. “They actively reject what Tony Fauci says for reasons which are complicated… but can you accept that if that’s just the fact, you ought to respond to it and say ‘Mr. President, I think my time is up as a successful and effective spokesperson?’”

Not surprisingly, Fauci is not too eager to step out of the limelight.

“You know, with all due respect… I just completely disagree with that premise because there are an awful lot of people who do listen, who do the right thing from a public health standpoint,” Fauci said. “So because there are a lot of people who have ideas of conspiracies and changing minds and flip-flopping, that’s not a reason to step down. Not at all.”

After a dissertation on controversy involving the AIDS epidemic 40 years, ago, Fauci added, “So the idea that people right now are not listening to what I’m saying, what I’m saying is the truth.”

Although Hewitt supported that assertion, he continued to press Fauci about what it would take for him to step aside.

“I actually agree,” Hewitt chimed in. “I got the booster, I’m Mr. Vaccine, I get the same kind of heat that you do, and what I’m saying though is there comes a point where it is simply a matter of fact that Tony Fauci in the era of social media is different than Tony Fauci of the beginning of HIV, and if a new face for the program developed, we’d see an increase in vaccines and an increase in booster use. So if that data is presented to you that more people would get vaccinated if you left the scene, would you leave the scene?”

Fauci was quick to “totally reject” the notion, “I think that is a completely false narrative that people are not getting vaccinated because of me… are you kidding me, Hugh?”

“I’m trying to explain to you the truth,” Hewitt answered. “I got vaccinated because of you, but there is a large segment of the American people that doesn’t trust you now and that can’t be undone. So I want you to be able to speak to them. I know your heart, I know your public service, but if you’re an obstacle to getting vaccination rates up, should you step aside?”

“I am not an obstacle to getting vaccinations up,” Fauci persisted. “That is a completely false narrative that I would have to absolutely reject.”

What he never addressed is the idea that so many Americans reject him — the important thing here seemingly being that the right people in positions of power in both the government and the media do.

“You’re not hearing me, doctor. You’re not hearing me. I’m saying people see you coming on and they turn off the channel because they don’t like you whereas if a new face arrives, a new younger face… if a new person shows up, I think we’re more effective,” Hewitt suggested, to no avail.

Tom Tillison

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