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Tipsheet

Fauci Is on His Farewell Tour and It's Going Exactly How You'd Expect

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Less than a week after Dr. Anthony Fauci was given a platform at the podium during Tuesday's White House press briefing, he also made the rounds at several Sunday shows. During each of his multiple appearances, Fauci was lauded over by the host for his "legacy" as he prepares to end his career, conveniently right before Republicans who are looking to investigate him take control of the House. 

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While on CBS News' "Face the Nation," Fauci didn't exactly give the most comforting or sufficient answers on the RSV virus. It got worse as the interview went on, especially given his answer on the possibility of schools closing, again. 

When discussing the issue with host Margaret Brennan, Fauci replied in part that it's about a "balance." 

"You have to balance, and you do it in real time depending upon the viral load of disease in your region. Whether you know, the upper northeast may be quite different from the southwest, from the--from the--from the Pacific coast, from the upper Northwest. So you have to have the local authorities evaluate on a situation by situation basis, the potential collateral deleterious effects, with the effects of what might happen if you have so many kids getting infected," Fauci said, and then went on to emphasize "it's a local issue."

Fauci went on to claim "that's the thing that gets lost in the discussion," seemingly downplaying that "the discussion" is about how parents have had enough of school closures in this country and the catastrophic effects on learning and test scores that resulted. To add insult to injury, Fauci even laughed during his response. Further, those effects were not discussed during the segment. 

During the segment, Dr. Fauci also reminded that when it comes to the COVID vaccine, the powers that be expect people to get their booster potentially once a year, as is the case with the flu shot. "You heard us, we in the public health arena, talk about the likelihood of getting a cadence of maybe once a year, that you get it with the flu shot," Fauci told Brennan as he advocated at length for vaccines. 

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When it comes to vaccines, Fauci confirmed that the Biden administration has indeed asked Congress for $10 billion in funding, with Brennan quickly as an aside, pointing out that "we're technically still in the middle of a pandemic, even though the President said" otherwise. That money will be used, according to Fauci, for "outreach and PSA campaigns to get people to be vaccinated," which he called "a practical thing."

Fauci and Brennan went on to lament how 11 percent of the population has received their updated booster, which has been available for a few months now. Not only did Fauci call that number "really, really not optimal," he vented about the situation further from there. 

"You superimpose upon that, that only 68 percent of the population is vaccinated, and only a half of those have gotten their first boost to begin with, we have a long way to go to optimize our protection against COVID, which is really a shame, somewhat paradoxical, that a rich country with all the vaccines that we need, and we're utilizing them at a much lower level than we should be," he continued.

Fauci promoted vaccines even more aggressively later in the segment. While he acknowledged "everybody's got COVID fatigue," he still insisted "we're not there yet" and that COVID "is still very much a risk" as well as "it's still not a great place to be" when it comes to the numbers, as he pushed for people to continue to get their boosters. 

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Politics entered the segment with regards not just to vaccines, but with oversight that House Republicans will be conducting. When it comes to Brennan mentioning that "the anti-vaccine movement" has "now become prevalent among some conservatives in this country," Fauci did not push back against politicizing the issue, with his response in part offering "I think it's a combination of an expansion and an amplification of the anti-science, anti-vax."

Fauci was also questioned about being questioned by House Republicans, to which he said "that's fine" with him, even claiming that "I'm very much in favor of--of legitimate oversight."

Given his hostile reactions to being questioned at hearings by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is also a medical doctor and one of Fauci's fiercest critics, it's worth asking if Fauci considers those hearings and questions to be "legitimate oversight." This is especially the case given that Fauci did mention Paul just a moment prior, by reminding that the senator will not be chairing the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), as Republicans did not take control of that body.

As Brennan reminded how Fauci was "angry" and claimed "they're going to be lying" when it comes to those who dare to call him out, Fauci shot back with claims "they've clearly politicized it," and even laughably mentioned "I'm not political at all, period" and that "I'm not going to get involved" in politics. He then tried to portray himself as a victim by pointing to how "it is very clear when people are running their campaigns with an anti-Fauci element to it," which he called "ridiculous."

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To be clear, Paul is not the only Republican that Fauci has pushed back against, with the list including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former Vice President Mike Pence as well, the latter who came up even more so during another interview, on NBC News' "Meet the Press."

To introduce Fauci on his program, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd shared in part that Fauci's "work to encourage vaccinations likely saved countless lives," adding "but he was also villainized by many on the right that opposed the shutdowns and mandates meant to curb the virus's spread and used Dr. Fauci as the symbol of their attacks." Todd would continue to portray Fauci as a hero and a martyr throughout the segment as well. 

In addition to discussing China at the start of the segment, to which Fauci didn't exactly give the most satisfactory or sufficient answer on, as was covered last night in a write-up of the protests there, Fauci was asked about and repeated many of the same talking points. 

This included Fauci reiterating "we certainly are still in" the pandemic, as he lamented "we're going into the winter right now" and repeated his disappointment about the lack of people who have gotten fully boosted, before Todd went on to bring up Pence.

Todd included a clip of the former vice president telling him last week that "the problem was, I believe, that Dr. Fauci ultimately aligned himself with many Democrat governors who took what were temporary policies and made them long-term policies in their state. And the American people love freedom."

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Fauci rushed to defend himself, with his response emphasizing "I disagree with him. I don't align myself with anybody, Chuck. I'm a physician. I'm a scientist. I'm a public health person," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, I go by the public health principles. Those are the recommendations that I made then during the Trump administration and the recommendations I make now during the Biden administration based on good public health principles," he continued, before repeating "I'd have to respectfully disagree with the former vice president."

Regardless of whether Fauci "respectfully disagree[s]" or not, it remains true that it was Democrats who insisted on closures, changing their tune only when politically expedient, despite how a Johns Hopkins study showed that lockdowns had almost no positive effect. while Republicans, especially Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was just reelected by almost 20 points, insisted on keeping his state free and open. 

Dr. Fauci also made another appearance on MSNBC's "The Sunday Show," where host Jonathan Capehart similarly sang his praises and allowed him to reflect on his career during the segment. 

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