Fauci describes ‘credible death threats’ for overseeing US Covid-19 response | Anthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci, the former head of the US infectious diseases unit, has received “credible death threats” stemming from his time overseeing the nation’s fight against Covid-19, he has told Congress.

Fauci, who was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases during the height of attempts to halt the spread of the virus, told a hearing on Capitol Hill that the threats had continued until the present day, even though he retired in 2022.

He told a subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ oversight and accountability committee that they also included his wife and three daughters and meant he needed round-the-clock security protection.

“There have been everything from harassments by emails, texts, letters to myself, my wife, my three daughters. There have been credible death threats, leading to the arrests of two individuals,” Fauci said.

“Credible death threats means someone who clearly was on their way to kill me, and it’s required my having protective services essentially all the time. It is very troublesome to me. It is much more troublesome because they’ve involved my wife and my three daughters at these moments.”

Asked by the Democratic congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan how he felt, Fauci, 83, seemed to visibly tremble with emotion before answering: “Terrible.”

When Dingell asked if he was still receiving threats, he replied: “Yes, I do every time someone gets up and says, I’m responsible for the death of people throughout the world, the threats go up.”

Fauci was defended by Robert Garcia, a Democratic congressman from California, after he came under attack from Marjorie Taylor Greene, the firebrand far-right Georgia Republican, who refused to acknowledge his professional status as a doctor and assailed the pandemic measures he had advocated, such as masking and social distancing.

“Do the American people deserve to be abused like that, Mr Fauci, because you’re not a doctor, you’re Mr Fauci,” Taylor Greene said, before being interrupted on a point of order and told she had to refer to Fauci as a doctor.

Garcia apologised to Fauci about the questioning from Taylor Greene and other Republicans, saying: “I am so sorry you just had to sit through that. That was completely irresponsible. This might be the most insane hearing I’ve actually attended.”

Garcia described Fauci – who said in his opening statement that he wanted to address information and disinformation during the pandemic – as “an American hero”.

“Your team has done more to save lives than all 435 members of this body on both sides of the aisle,” he said.

Posting on Twitter/X, Garcia, who told the hearing that both his parents had died in the pandemic, called Taylor Greene “a national embarrassment”.

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