Dr. Anthony Fauci attended a swanky event before the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner on Saturday after making headlines for withdrawing from the WCHD itself.
What is the background?
ABC News reportedly invited Fauci to the WHCD dinner, which was held on Saturday for the first time since 2019. But Fauci announced last week that he would not attend the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci decided not to attend the dinner "because of my individual assessment of my personal risk," the New York Times reported.
Event organizers did not implement a face mask mandate for the more than 2,500 dinner attendees. Instead, to enter the dinner, everyone was required to prove they tested negative for COVID-19 on the day of the dinner. Every attendee was also required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
But what did Fauci do?
While America's most controversial medical doctor did not attend the dinner itself, he attended a packed pre-dinner event — and did not wear a face mask.
Fauci attended the "Garden Brunch," an event that takes place the afternoon before the WHCD. The event "honors the freedom of the press and highlights the important work of veterans and military family organizations," according to WHC Insider.
Hollywood celebrities, journalists, politicians, and even top military leaders attended the event, according to TVNewser.
Here is Fauci with CNN anchor Don Lemon and journalist Jonathan Capehart:
Dr. Fauci even gave an interview at the brunch event in which he struck an unusually positive tone about the trajectory of the pandemic.
"We've been 2.5 years in the one of the most stressful times we've had since, you know, world wars if you look at that historically. We've still got to be careful; it isn't completely over, but it's certainly going in the right direction," Fauci said. "So we're glad to see people able to come out; they're vaccinated, they're boosted, they're tested, so it's pretty good."
Just last week, Fauci declared that the COVID pandemic "is not over."