After becoming a top punching bag for the right, Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending himself with a sharp new edge, arguing that an attack on him is an attack on science.
What he's saying: In comments to Kara Swisher on her New York Times "Sway" podcast, shared first with Axios, Fauci says: "It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves. ... And that's the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science."
"[T]he people who are giving the ad hominems are saying, 'Ah, Fauci misled us. First he said no masks, then he said masks,'" Fauci said on the podcast, which drops tomorrow. "Well, let me give you a flash. That's the way science works. You work with the data you have at the time."
- "It was not a change because I felt like flip-flopping. It was a change because the evidence changed, the data changed."
- "[I]t isn't a question of being wrong. It's a question of going with the data as you have, and being humble enough and flexible enough to change with the data."
After 37 years in his job, Fauci said puts "very little weight in the adulation, and very little weight in the craziness of condemning me."
- "[I]t gets preposterous, and the thing that bothers you most of all is the impact it has on your family. "
- "I mean, getting death threats and getting your daughters and your wife threatened with obscene notes and threatening notes is not fun. So I can't say that doesn't bother me."
- "The more extreme they get, the more obvious how political it is ... 'Fauci has blood in his hands.' Are you kidding me? ... Here's a guy whose entire life has been devoted to saving lives, and now you're telling me he's like Hitler? You know, come on, folks. Get real."
Go deeper: Hear "Sway."