Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical adviser, says that he's "always" been open to the idea that COVID-19 escaped from a lab — and social media users are calling out what they say is his bluff, pointing out contradictory remarks he's made during the pandemic.
What are the details?
On Wednesday, Fauci told "CBS This Morning" that neither he nor the government suppressed the idea that COVID-19 could have emerged from a lab leak.
"If you go back then, even though you lean towards feeling this is more likely a natural occurrence, we always felt that you gotta keep an open mind," he said. "All of us. We didn't get up and start announcing it, but what we said, 'Keep an open mind and continue to look.' So I think it's a bit of a distortion to say that we deliberately suppressed that."
Social media took issue with the infectious diseases expert's remarks, and pointed out myriad times when Fauci appeared to say or suggest the very opposite.
In May 2020, National Geographic ran a story titled, "Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab."
In the article, Fauci is quoted as saying, "if you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated."
It wasn't the only of its kind
In April 2020, Fauci told members of the White House press that there was next to no evidence to suggest that the virus emerged any way other than in a neutral evolution.
Blaze Media's Sara Gonzales tweeted about Fauci's remarks Wednesday, writing, "This is patently false. Dr. Fauci is a liar. I have receipts."
She also shared screenshots of various reports in which Fauci appeared to have downplayed the lab leak theory.
One such article Gonzales cites — courtesy of CNN — is titled, "Anthony Fauci just crushed Donald Trump's theory on the origins of the coronavirus."
A report from Insider reads, "Dr. Fauci throws cold water on conspiracy theory that coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab."
A headline from an Independent report reads, "Coronavirus: Dr. Fauci dismisses Trump's suggestions pandemic was created in Chinese lab."
Fauci's remarks also triggered a flurry of criticism on social media.
One user fired back, "These people think we're gonna forget everything."
Another wrote, "This is absolutely nuts. No he didn't say keep an open mind. I total [sic] understand waiting until the evidence comes in before assuming there's a lab leak; however any discussion about this was suppressed and condemned as a conspiracy theory. Pretty wild."
"That, my friends, is what is known as gaslighting. You did not hear what you heard. You did not see what you saw," another user noted.