Dr. Anthony Fauci has openly spoken about the death threats he received while working under the Trump administration, but now we're learning how bad it got.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Fauci said he received an envelope filled with an unknown powder.
“[O]ne day I got a letter in the mail, I opened it up and a puff of powder came all over my face and my chest. That was very, very disturbing to me and my wife because it was in my office,” he said. “So I just looked at it all over me and said, ‘What do I do?’ The security detail was there, and they’re very experienced in that. They said, ‘Don’t move, stay in the room.’ And they got the hazmat people. So they came, they sprayed me down and all that.”
Fauci said that the substance was examined and found to be a “benign nothing,” but it was still a scary experience. He said he didn’t know if Donald Trump was told about the incident, and that he never told anyone close to the former president.
“Who was I going to tell? What good would it be to tell anyone? Also, it was under FBI investigation, and they don’t like you to talk about it,” Fauci explained, adding that the number of death threats that he and his family receive have “infuriated” him.
Fauci’s interview with The Times focused on his experience working for Trump, particularly as his boss was trying to downplay the virus’ severity at the pandemic’s outset last year. “I would try to express the gravity of the situation, and the response of [Trump] was always leaning toward, ‘Well, it’s not that bad, right?’ And I would say, ‘Yes, it is that bad.’ It was almost a reflex response, trying to coax you to minimize it,” Fauci said.
He explained that both Trump and his inner circle never admitted that Fauci had been right about the virus, even when Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19. “We would say things like: ‘This is an outbreak. Infectious diseases run their own course unless one does something to intervene.’ And then he would get up and start talking about, ‘It’s going to go away, it’s magical, it’s going to disappear,'" he said,
Though there were always reports of the possibility that Trump might fire Fauci, the infectious disease expert was never worried. “I thought he wasn’t going to do it. I think that’s the way he is. People said, ‘Oh, weren’t you horrified that the next day you were going to get a call?’” Fauci said. “I didn’t think at all that he was going to fire me. It was just, you know, Donald Trump being Donald Trump.”
After Fauci was recently named Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, he said he wasn’t joking about already feeling less constrained in the new president’s administration.