Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading epidemiologist, declared that many of the attacks on him were akin to attacks on science itself.
Fauci made the comments while a guest on MNSBC's "Meet the Press Daily" with Chuck Todd where he responded, sometimes angrily, to many of the critiques aimed at him personally.
"What is your level of concern that we're going to discredit public health officials to the point of — look at Russia, they actually have a good vaccine, and none of their citizens take it because they don't trust their own government," said Todd.
It's very dangerous, Chuck, because a lot of what you're seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science because all of the things I have spoken about from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science," Fauci said.
"Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me," he explained.
"So if you are trying to 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, you have to be asleep not to see that. That is what going on," he added.
"Science and the truth are being attacked," Fauci concluded.
Fauci has been heavily criticized for first recommending that no one wear masks early on in the pandemic and later supporting government mandated mask requirements.
He has also been accused of being overly critical of the lab leak theory when many experts and media figures were describing it as a conspiracy theory. It has since gained prominence as a possible origin for the global pandemic. Despite having Fauci lead his coronavirus task force, former President Donald Trump has claimed that he was glad he didn't listen to Fauci and succeeded despite his recommendations.
In the same interview with Todd, Fauci responded to the controversies, saying that the data on the coronavirus changed and led to a different guideline on masks, and that he and other scientists had never been closed off to the possibility of the lab leak theory.
Fauci said elsewhere in the interview that the vaccination goal should be that 75-80% of U.S. adults receive at least one dose of the vaccine, but that they should press ahead for an even higher vaccination rate.
Here's the video of Fauci's comments:
Fauci Responds To Attacks From Republicans www.youtube.com