Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Sept. 14, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The Epoch Times
White House COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci revealed he should have been “much more careful” in his messaging during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but claimed many of his public comments were misinterpreted.
“When I go back in the early months, I probably should have tried to be much, much more careful in getting the message to repeat—the uncertainty of what we’re going through,” Fauci said at an event with the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism on Wednesday.
Later, he asserted that many of his comments to the media were taken out of context. Since early 2020, Fauci has given hundreds of interviews to various media outlets.
In the early stages of COVID-19’s spread in the United States, Republicans often criticized Fauci for his often dire predictions. Fauci also repeatedly promoted lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, and vaccine requirements.
“You have to be very careful. It is really unfortunate that that’s the world in which we live, in that it’s a bunch of sound bites, sound bites that sometimes get cut in half and get misinterpreted,” Fauci said Wednesday. “Someone could always make mischief by clipping out a few words.”
Several weeks ago, Fauci announced he would be stepping down as the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December. He’s been in charge of that agency since 1984.
“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said in late August. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”
Republican lawmakers, who are widely predicted to at least retake the House after the 2022 midterms, have indicated they would investigate Fauci and promised more hearings. On Wednesday, Fauci indicated that he would be willing to testify.
Congressional hearings featuring Fauci have proven to be contentious. During one exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) last year about whether the National Institutes of Health provided funding to a third-party group to carry out controversial gain-of-function research on bat coronavirus, Fauci said his agency did not fund gain-of-function research.
What’s more, Fauci said that he “never lied before Congress” during an especially testy exchange with Paul, criticizing the senator—himself a doctor—by saying that “you do not know what you are talking about.”
But documents released months later show that the National Institutes of Health did, in fact, provided money to EcoHealth Alliance for the research at a top-secret laboratory in Wuhan, China—the city COVID-19 first emerged in late 2019.
“Yes, he clearly misled Congress,” former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said of Fauci last month. “And then he went over the top taking on Rand Paul and others in an offensive way for a public servant. Tony and I are friends, but we don’t agree on this at all.”
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News in August that Fauci “has done everything he can to obstruct any type of investigation” into the origins of COVID-19.
The National Intelligence Council in 2021 released an assessment on the origins of the virus, reporting that the 17-agency intelligence community “remains divided on the most likely origin” of the virus. Some of its members suspected at the time that a “natural exposure to an infected animal” sparked the pandemic, while others believe it was “a laboratory-associated incident,” according to the report.