Dr. Anthony Fauci said he feels liberated now that President Biden is at the helm instead of former President Donald Trump.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared alongside White House press secretary Jen Psaki at the Biden administration’s second press conference on Thursday and took questions from journalists. Early on, he quipped, “One of the things new with this administration is if you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer.”
When a reporter later said that Fauci “joked a couple times” about the difference about his role in the new administration and asked him to explain what was different, Fauci said the difference was plain to see.
“When you said I was joking about it, I was very serious about it, I wasn’t joking,” Fauci said while bursting into laughter. “Obviously, I don’t want to be going back over history, but it was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact.”
“I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president, so it was really something that you didn’t feel that you could actually say something, and there wouldn’t be any repercussions about it,” Fauci continued. “The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence, what the science is, and know that’s it, let the science speak. It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.”
While an early fixture at the coronavirus task force briefings last year, Fauci was sidelined by Trump later in the pandemic as he contradicted some of the claims made by the White House. He was out of the public eye for the past few months, and Trump even said that he was planning to fire Fauci, who has been in his role since 1984, if he were to have been reelected.
Fauci was named Biden’s chief medical adviser as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. There have been roughly 24.5 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths associated with COVID-19.
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