Dr. Anthony Fauci, the long-serving director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a special health advisor to the Biden White House, is dropping hints that he may soon retire.
“I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase, and I think we might be there already,” he told ABC’s “Start Here” podcast on March 19. “I can’t stay at this job forever. Unless my staff is going to find me slumped over my desk one day, I’d rather not do that.”
Fauci, 81, who came to personify the nation’s response to COVID-19, has been mired in many of the controversies surrounding the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus, including the restrictions on personal freedom and the overall effectiveness of the measures taken to stem the disease’s spread.
Paul Amendment Targeting Fauci
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who has clashed with Fauci over pandemic policy and the funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology through the agency Fauci heads, has decided not to wait for Fauci to step down. Paul, a physician, introduced an amendment on March 14 to eliminate Fauci’s position as director of the NIAID and replace it with three separate national research institutes.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson, in particular, is that no one person should be named ‘Dictator-in-Chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” Paul said in a statement.
“To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and divide his power into three separate new institutes,” Paul stated. “This will create accountability and oversight in a taxpayer-funded position that has largely abused its power and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Paul proposes breaking up the NIAID into three new entities: the National Institute of Allergic Diseases, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of Immunologic Diseases. Each of these three new institutes would be led by a director who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a 5-year term.
Though Fauci’s stock still appears to be high at the Biden White House, nationwide exhaustion over pandemic policies has led even Democratic state and local officials to distance themselves from mask and vaccine mandates pushed by Fauci.
Email Exchange with NIH’s Collins
Fuel was added to the fire in December when the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) tweeted an email exchange between Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins showing them colluding to discredit an alternative strategy for dealing with the pandemic.
The emails were sent in October 2020, shortly after the release of the Great Barrington Declaration, which was highly critical of the Fauci-backed nationwide lockdowns and instead called for focusing resources on those most vulnerable to COVID-19, the elderly and people with existing health conditions, with the ultimate goal of achieving herd immunity.
In an October 8, 2020 email to Fauci, Collins said the Great Barrington Declaration was the work of “three fringe epidemiologists,” adding, “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises. I don’t see anything like that online yet – Is it underway?”
Fauci responded the same day by sending Collins an op-ed in Wired that Fauci said “debunks this theory.” He followed that up a few days later by forwarding a similar piece that appeared in The Nation.
The “three fringe epidemiologists” are Drs. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, who were the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. Upon learning of the Fauci-Collins emails, Bhattacharya tweeted: “So now I know what it feels like to be the subject of a propaganda attack by my own government. Discussion and engagement would have been a better path.”
Growing dissatisfaction with nationwide pandemic policies appears to have prompted the Biden Justice Department to hire at least four new tort attorneys to help with vaccine injury cases against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – according to a new job posting on the federal government’s official hiring site USA/JOBS, substack.com reported (March 21).
“Thorough Housecleaning Needed”
Marilyn M. Singleton, M.D, J.D., a California-based physician, points out that Fauci’s missteps long predate his handling of COVID-19.
“Dr. Fauci knows he has significant failures under his belt. He began with erroneous advice regarding AIDS transmission in the 1980s and promoted a toxic treatment for AIDS patients while ignoring advice from clinicians who were actively treating such patients and is now saddled with his COVID-19 missteps,” Singleton told HCN.
“Given his fall from grace, it appears he is throwing out a trial balloon to see whether he will be begged to stay,” Singleton said. “It is time to end the stranglehold unelected administrators have on the public health policies. Kudos to Dr. Paul.”
A “thorough housecleaning” is needed at NIAID that goes beyond Paul’s amendment, says Jane Orient, M.D., the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
“Dr. Paul’s idea of splitting up the NIAID doesn’t prevent the emergence of a dictator-in-chief from the infectious diseases division. NIAID needs intense investigation from top to bottom with special attention to [the] flow of funds, and a thorough housecleaning to remove conflicted persons,” she said.
“The once ubiquitous Dr. Fauci might be well-advised to relocate somewhere that does not have an extradition treaty and to shield as much of his lavish pension as possible from asset-forfeiture laws,” said Orient. “It is interesting that the Biden administration DOJ is lawyering up to avoid having to compensate victims of vaccine injury,” Orient added. “I wonder what Pfizer and Moderna are doing. Fauci might pierce their liability shield – are they purchase concerned?”
Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.