Washington Post’s Michael Gerson lauded Dr. Anthony Fauci in a flattering op-ed on Monday, referring to the Biden administration adviser as “the greatest public servant” he ever met.
Gerson frequently complimented Fauci ahead of his retirement in December, citing their relationship during the Bush administration.
“Fauci’s forthcoming retirement as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will cost Americans, and people around the world, far more than they realize. But he will ever remain the greatest public servant I have known,” Gerson wrote.
He added, “Fauci assumes that everyone is rational and thus persuadable. That is not quite true. But when he described to me the shifting shell of sugars that surround and protect the AIDS virus, or how mRNA vaccines work, it left a few impressions. First, how something that can kill you can be so fascinating. But also how much Fauci’s friendship felt like mentorship. The greatness of his calling rubbed off a bit. And one was left with the infection of his mission.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has become a politically divisive figure for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic under both President Trump and President Biden.
((AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) )
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Gerson defended Fauci against his frequent critics like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Paul and Facui have made headlines for their sparring over the former’s agency allegedly funding Chinese gain-of-function research on bats infected with coronaviruses. The columnist wrote Paul’s criticisms of Fauci were an “attack on the very idea of public service — the notion that true experts can make a career in seeking the common good.”
“In attempting to demonize Fauci, his critics gained a fundraising target. And that, by their own lights, is the definition of political success. But seldom has the choice of an attack been more of a self-indictment. Fauci is not only a symbol of public health orthodoxy; he has done as much as any scientist to turn medical innovation into humanitarian progress,” Gerson argued.
Fauci framed himself in a similar light, arguing that he represents “consistency,” “truth” and human “caring” in an era of the “normalizations of untruths and lies.” He also claimed that Republican attacks against him are fundamentally attacks against science itself.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was questioned by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during a Senate committee hearing Thursday, June 16, 2022.
(Senate Video Pool)
“Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people and there was pushback against me, so if you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you’re attacking science, and anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that,” Fauci said last year.
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Gerson echoed those claims writing, “Fauci is a symbol of sorts. He demonstrates what can happen when a nation at the height of its power employs the finest scientific minds of their generation to the pursuit of public health goals few believed were possible. The result has been a golden age of public health, motivated by an American belief in human dignity.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will retire from his position in December.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Fauci has been a frequent target of those critical of his managing of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly how many of his early claims, such as the effectiveness of cloth masks, were proven false. However, Fauci found many defenders among the media, one prominent anchor being MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, who called herself a “Fauci groupie.”
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays and David Rutz contributed to this report.