During Tuesday's White House press briefing, Karine Jean-Pierre brought not only cookies to share with the press corps but also Dr. Fauci, who she praised as "a source of information and facts" before offering a eulogy-sounding recap of his career to introduce him for what Jean-Pierre said was his "last run at the podium."
KJP: "Dr. Fauci has been a source of information and facts, but Dr. Fauci's leadership and legacy stretch far beyond the past couple of years." pic.twitter.com/FxJzQAojIy— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
Jean-Pierre seems to have conveniently forgotten that Fauci advocated for school closures early in the pandemic, advised against buying masks initially, withheld information from Americans he thought we couldn't handle, and joined Biden to demonize Americans who chose not to get vaccinated. Still, it's hard to believe that Tuesday might actually be the last official White House briefing room edict from Fauci ahead of his retirement from government next month.
In terms of his "final message," Fauci delivered exactly what we've come to expect from him over the past few years. "My message — and my final message, maybe the final message I give you from this podium — is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible to protect yourself, your family, and your community," he urged.
FAUCI: "My message and my final message, maybe the final message I give you from this podium, is...get your updated COVID-19 shot." pic.twitter.com/ZZrveQvPnG— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
The chuckle Fauci emitted as he was delivering his final message is entirely on-brand for the highest-paid "public servant" in the federal government who is getting worse at hiding his love of the power he's wielded while ducking behind the shield of science whenever legitimate criticism is lobbed in his direction.
Perhaps the only thing more on-brand that Fauci using his last time at the White House podium to again command that Americans get a vaccine — rather than any acknowledgement of getting any part of the COVID-19 response wrong or apology to Americans who've suffered, often needlessly, as a result of his edicts — was the White House press corps reaction.
Rather than asking critical questions of Fauci or his record at the National Institutes of Health, they gently tossed softball questions his way. Questions about how Fauci wants to be remembered show exactly why Fauci was able to get away with so much when it came to COVID response, given the media's unquestioning fealty to every word that came from his mouth:
REPORTER: "What do you want Americans to remember about your service in government?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
FAUCI: "Every day for all of those years, I've given it everything that I have and I've never left anything on the field." pic.twitter.com/L0B1jDvYep
But Dr. Fauci, they continued, what do we do now that "mask" has become a pejorative?
REPORTER: "What do you say about the word 'mask' now being a pejorative?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
FAUCI: "Sometimes when you walk in and you have a mask, and nobody has a mask, you kind of feel guilty. You shouldn't feel guilty. You look terrific!" pic.twitter.com/ax16sojR7e
Reporters also gave Dr. Anthony "this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated" Fauci room to revise history further, claiming Americans who chose not to get vaccinated — the same ones he and the rest of the Biden administration demonized endlessly until their vaxxed and boosted ranks started getting and spreading COVID — did so because of "divisiveness and ideological differences." Spare us.
FAUCI: "It pains me" when people don't get vaccinated "because of divisiveness and ideological differences." pic.twitter.com/Kqzqca5cnn— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
Toward the end of Fauci's final turn at the White House podium, mayhem erupted over Jean-Pierre's refusal to let a reporter ask Fauci about the origins of COVID:
Karine Jean-Pierre snaps at a reporter:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
"I'm done! I'm done with you!" pic.twitter.com/F8Kwk7B9cv
Perhaps the only moderately strong question from White House reporters was another that Jean-Pierre tried to prevent Fauci from answering about whether or not he would cooperate with Republican lawmakers' oversight of the Biden administration's response to COVID.
Karine Jean-Pierre tries and fails to stop a reporter from asking Dr. Fauci about testifying before Congress with a new Republican Majority:— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 22, 2022
"I can answer his question...I have nothing to hide!" pic.twitter.com/xvVZOq5JcM
After brushing aside Jean-Pierre's attempts to shoo him out of the room — not exactly the dignified departure one would expect the White House to give Fauci at the end of his last briefing appearance — Fauci insisted "I have nothing to hide" and said he would participate in oversight hearings after the new Congress kicks off in January.