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Fauci says Trump’s COVID-19 disinfectant claim was dangerous

Dr Anthony Fauci says he feared people would start doing ‘dangerous and foolish things’ after Donald Trump suggested that injecting disinfectant could treat COVID-19

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN‘s Out Front, the 80-year-old also said he was never worried about Trump firing him because he wasn’t a presidential employee and admitted it was a ‘good thing’ that the Biden administration had let go high-profile members of the COVID-19 task force, including Dr Deborah Birx.

When asked what his reaction was to Trump’s disinfectant comments early on in the pandemic, Fauci said: ‘I just said, ‘Oh my goodness gracious.’ I could just see what’s going to happen’.

‘You’re going to have people who hear that from the president and they’re going to start doing dangerous and foolish things, which is the reason why, immediately, those of us who were not there said ‘this is something you should not do’. 

Dr Anthony Fauci gave a wide-ranging interview to CNN criticizing Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including his ‘dangerous’ suggestion that disinfectant could be a COVID-19 cure

Fauci said that he and others, including the CDC and cleaning product companies, immediately came out and publicly told Americans not to follow Trump’s suggestion. 

Trump later claimed he was only being sarcastic.

Despite this, several people were reported to have ingested cleaning products in the wake of Trump’s comments. 

An Arizona man died and his wife was critically injured after ingesting fish tank cleaner thinking it was the drug championed by Trump. Two men in Georgia and one man in Kansas were seriously injured after drinking liquid cleaning products ‘to ward off COVID-19’. 

In Maryland, the state’s emergency management system reported that it had received 100 calls asking about whether to use disinfectant to treat COVID-19 in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s comments.  

Fauci went on to say that Trump had been getting a mix of ‘good information and bad information’ regarding the virus. 

‘Unfortunately, the concept of anecdotal as opposed to science-driven information seemed to prevail,’ Fauci said. 

When asked what his reaction was to Trump's disinfectant comments early on in the pandemic (pictured above), Fauci said: 'I just said, 'Oh my goodness gracious.' I could just see what's going to happen'

When asked what his reaction was to Trump’s disinfectant comments early on in the pandemic (pictured above), Fauci said: ‘I just said, ‘Oh my goodness gracious.’ I could just see what’s going to happen’

Deborah Birx

Robert Redfield

He said he felt a duty to stay in order to refute some of Trump’s incorrect claims about the virus. Fauci noted that if he had left, CDC director Robert Redfield and task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx would have been alone in trying to combat disinformation

‘I took no great pleasure out of contradicting the president but I had to get out just to maintain my own integrity, but also to stand up for science that the data did not show what they were claiming.’ 

He said he felt a duty to stay in order to refute some of Trump’s incorrect claims about the virus. 

Fauci noted that if he had left, CDC director Robert Redfield and task force coordinator Dr Birx would have been alone in trying to combat disinformation. 

‘Even though there was a lot of extraordinary, surrealistic things going on… I felt if I left there would not be that honest broker there. It would leave Debbie Birx and Robert Redfield alone there,’ he said. 

He said that unlike Redfield and Birx, he was a non-presidential appointee so wasn’t concerned about Trump firing him. 

‘I felt that if I stood there with them and continued to speak the truth I would be representing science publicly. Not that there weren’t scientists there,’ he said, acknowledging Redfield, Birx and then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams. 

He described Adams as ‘fine’ and said that he believed he had done a good job.  

When asked about Biden's decision to let go members of the previous task force, including Birx, Fauci said he thought the new administration starting from scratch was a 'good thing'

When asked about Biden’s decision to let go members of the previous task force, including Birx, Fauci said he thought the new administration starting from scratch was a ‘good thing’

‘There were some good people in the White House. They were put in a difficult position. There was no way I could not have spoken out. I didn’t think they could have fired me anyway,’ he said. 

When asked about Biden’s decision to let go members of the previous task force, including Birx, Fauci said he didn’t want to make a judgement about her. 

‘What the Biden administration did is a good thing. They wanted to start right from scratch and bring back their style into the White House,’ Fauci said. 

Fauci has given a handful of interviews criticizing Trump in the week since Biden took office. 

In an interview with the New York Times, Fauci detailed the death threats he received for publicly contradicting Trump and detailed thinking he might die after opening a package containing white powder.

‘It had to be one of three things: A hoax. Or anthrax, which meant I’d have to go on Cipro for a month. Or if it was ricin, I was dead, so bye-bye,’ he said. 

He had to have a security detail due to the ongoing threats last year. 


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