Mr. Fauci Goes From Washington - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Mr. Fauci Goes From Washington
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Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to Sen. Rand Paul in Senate hearing, July 20, 2021 (News 19 WLTX/YouTube)

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced his retirement date from the federal government this week. Journalists promptly refused to retire from covering him, as though he were Shaun Cassidy and they worked for Tiger Beat.

CNBC reporter Dawn Kopecki, for instance, lauds his “steadfast commitment to science” in a news article that notes, “Fauci has become a household fixture during the Covid-19 pandemic, battling back misinformation — sometimes from the highest levels of government.”

But Fauci, who operated within those highest levels of government for decades, sometimes acted as the purveyor of misinformation.

He discouraged the public from wearing masks in a March 2020 CBS 60 Minutes interview. Privately, he offered a reason, saying, “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material.” Shortly thereafter, he became the greatest booster of masks not employed by Halloween Outlet.

Although he appeared all over the board on the efficacy of social distancing, vaccines, and much else, Fauci misled most aggressively not in regard to infectious diseases but in covering up his own miscues and misdeeds.

Just last month, he defensively claimed that “I didn’t recommend locking anything down,” telling the interviewer to “go back and look at my statements.” Some people did. He boasted to students at his College of the Holy Cross alma mater two years ago: “I recommended to the president that we shut the country down.… And unfortunately, since we actually did not shut down completely—the way China did, the way Korea did, the way Taiwan did—we actually did see spread even though we shut down.”

The deception never appeared so brazen as it did during his denials before a Senate committee that the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for which he served for more than five decades, funded gain-of-function research on coronavirus at the same Wuhan lab that some suspect created COVID-19 by engaging in dangerous research of the kind that the NIH had funded.

The research, published in Nature Medicine seven years ago, plainly admitted to engaging in gain-of-function research. It explained: “[T]o examine the emergence potential (that is, the potential to infect humans) of circulating bat CoVs, we built a chimeric virus encoding a novel, zoonotic CoV spike protein—from the RsSHC014-CoV sequence that was isolated from Chinese horseshoe bats—in the context of the SARS-CoV mouse-adapted backbone. The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone.”

The peer-reviewed scholarly paper clearly notes research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It lists Shi Zhengli, famously nicknamed “Bat Woman,” as an author. It explicitly acknowledges financial support from the NIH in several places, e.g., stating, “This paper has been reviewed by the funding agency, the NIH.”

When Sen. Rand Paul accused Fauci’s outfit of funding gain-of-function research, he engaged in histrionics — visibly shaking, pointing his finger, and calling Paul a liar. The big tell came when the longtime director of NIH subset the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases denied in non sequitur fashion any similarity between the COVID-19 sequence and the sequence in the Nature Medicine article — as though Paul had accused him of funding the specific gain-of-function research that possibly led to COVID-19 rather than just that Frankenstein-ish research described in the Nature Medicine article. (READ MORE from Daniel J. Flynn: COVID Is Healthier Than Fauci Fascism)

It struck as terribly dishonest. When the fiefdom of the government’s highest-paid employee changed the definition of gain of function, the whole episode became farcical.

The exchanges with Paul revealed a bureaucrat hiding behind the doctor title. CYA, not the Hippocratic Oath, governed his words. Scheduling his departure for just days before Republicans likely take over one if not both houses of Congress shows a level of self-preservation found among any in the mandarin class whose D.C. career spans 11 presidencies.

Surely Fauci performed a tremendously difficult job. He correctly warned very early that something wicked this way comes. And many of his detractors ridiculed the vaccines he promoted to their own downfall. But he showed his great failing in personifying bureaucracy by denying institutional failures even when the failures appear clearly to even those in need of eye surgery from Dr. Paul.

Fauci went native. Or Washington went Fauci. He started on our dime so long ago that nobody knows which.

Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website, www.flynnfiles.com.   
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