Dr. Anthony Fauci had to strip naked and get hosed down ‘in what looked like a kiddie pool’ after being mailed a white powder he feared was deadly ricin.
The White House COVID adviser turned chief medical adviser, 80, has said he thought was at risk when he opened the envelope on August 27, 2020, at his office at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, and mystery white powder blew into his face and chest.
Fauci’s ordeal is explained in the new book, ‘Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,’ written by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institutes for Health, said he believed the substance was one of three things: a prank to scare him, anthrax or ricin. If it was anthrax, he’d survive albeit be very ill. If it was ricin, he would be dead.
‘Over the next few hours, his team hosed him down to his skivvies in a chemical lab, making him stand naked in what looked like a kiddy pool as they awaited the results of tests on the substance,’ reads an excerpt of the book published by Politico’s Playbook. ‘He called his wife to warn her before breathing a sigh of relief a few hours later when the findings came back negative for both deadly substances.’
Anthony Fauci had to strip naked and get hosed down ‘in what looked like a kiddie pool’ after being mailed a white powder during the height of the COVID crisis, a new book has revealed. Fauci, right, Dr. Deborah Birx, left, listen as President Donald Trump speaks on March 20 last year
He received a mysterious envelop at his office at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, pictured, and the white powder blew into his face and chest
The details of Fauci’s poison scare are revealed in a new book by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, Nightmare Scenario
Fauci first revealed the details of the poison scare to The New York Times in January, though he left out the experience of being hosed down naked. Fauci added that he doesn’t know if former President Trump even knew about the incident and he never told anyone in the administration about it.
The book also details the death threats Fauci received during Trump’s presidency amid the ebbing pandemic. He angered Trump and his supporters by disagreeing with the ex-president, often in public, moments after Trump had spoken.
Nature’s deadliest biological weapons
Anthrax: An illness caused by a spore-forming bacterium named bacillus anthracis that could be deadly, but is treatable with antibiotic medication
Ricin: A naturally-occurring toxin found in castor beans that could kill anyone exposed to it in three days, in most cases
Fauci said he received his first death threat on March 28, 2020, adding: ‘They knew where my kids work, where they live,’ he told the New York Times.
‘The threats would come directly to my children’s phones, directly to my children’s homes. How the hell did whoever these assholes were get that information?’
Shortly after the first death threat, Fauci had to have a security detail.
Another incident revealed in the book involves Fauci resisting Trump’s call to cancel a research grant to a non-profit that gave money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the institution at the center of the COVID-19 lab leak theory.
Fauci was ordered by Trump to formally announce the grant had been terminated in April 2020. Of concern, according to an excerpt given to Fox News, was that Fauci and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins were not sure the NIH had the legal authority to terminate a peer-reviewed grant in the middle of a budget cycle.
The book also explains how Fauci resisted former President Donald Trump’s call to cancel a research grant to a non-profit that gave money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the institution at the center of the COVID-19 lab leak theory
Trump pushed Fauci and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to cancel a grant to a non-profit that had been giving money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, something it was unclear they had the legal authority to do
Workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology are photographed in 2017. The Wuhan lab has been central to the so-called lab leak theory – that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab instead of jumping from an animal to a human
The general counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services made it clear to Fauci and Collins that the order came directly from Trump.
The implication, the book said, was that their jobs were on the line.
The grant had been given to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance to have the Wuhan lab study how coronaviruses jump from infected bats to humans. Politico, however, reported that EcoHealth Alliance wasn’t actively collaborating with the lab when NIH cut off the funds.
Trump had declared at an April 17 press conference that he had instructed U.S. officials to look into whether any taxpayer dollars were slated to go to the Wuhan Institute for research – and announced that funding would be cancelled.
Trump wanted the men to announce at a 5 p.m. press conference on April 24, 2020 that the grant had been terminated.
Fauci and Collins reluctantly did as they were told.
On April 24, the NIH told EcoHealth Alliance that the funds had been terminated.
EcoHealth Alliance was told not to spend the remaining $369,819 balance of the 2020 grant.
The HHS general counsel later decided that the agency probably didn’t have the authority to terminate the grant, so NIH had to reinstate it, but stopped payment.
The authors write that Fauci’s longtime friend, HIV/AIDS activist Peter Staley encouraged him to hold out against Trump’s demand – even suggesting Fauci resign.
Staley was concerned about politics seeping into scientific research.
‘You want us both to resign over a $3.7 million grant?’ Fauci pushed back.
The book revealed that Fauci and Collins heard the same advice from a number of members of the scientific community.
In the conversation with Staley, the activist took it back.
‘You’re right, you’re right,’ he told Fauci. ‘That’s not what you resign over.’