Dr. Anthony Fauci resigns from government service in December – right after the midterms. Could it be the controversial doctor – who has been the face of the government’s pandemic response from the beginning – planned an exit from the national spotlight just as he might face scrutiny by a Republican majority in the House, or is it all a convenient coincidence?
In a news release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made Monday, Aug. 22, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief of NIAID’s Laboratory of Immunoregulation announced that he would be leaving his positions in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career.
“I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats,” Fauci wrote. What exactly that will entail was not stated – just that he wants to explore the “next phase” while he still has “so much energy and passion” for the field.
The Waffling Doctor
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci seemed to change his mind several times, especially on the issue of masks. The good doctor was fully behind the covering of faces in the beginning, but he later admitted the practice didn’t prove effective in the first year or two of the pandemic. Then, of course, he got fully behind President Joe Biden’s mask mandate.
The vaccines, of course, were entirely safe and effective – until they weren’t. In Fauci’s defense, he never wavered on the necessity of the shots. Even when admitting that multiple boosters would be necessary as time went on and that even those “fully vaccinated” didn’t seem to be protected from catching or spreading the disease, he has remained firmly for getting the jab since the initial doses were delivered.
As Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble pointed out in July 2021, “It is human nature to become skeptical when one hears a person offer advice on any given subject, only to advise the opposite just a week or two later and then, after another short time, repeat the guidance they initially gave.” By December of the same year, the herald-of-doom act had grown thin for the American people. Fauci fatigue, LN Managing Editor Mark Angelides called it.
Though the controversial doctor made it clear this isn’t a full retirement, he has previously made the obvious point that his age is a factor. When asked at the end of an interview with Australian radio station 3AW News Talk in June whether he would serve Donald Trump if the former president returned to office after 2024, the doctor replied: “By 2024, it is unlikely that I will still be at this job no matter who gets to be president of the United States. So I don’t think that’s a fair question because my time is running out. I’m 81 years old.”
So, perhaps the time for leading a government institution has simply come to an end – it isn’t like he can do the job forever, after all. That said, there is another potential motive for stepping down this year.
In the fall of 2021, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request turned up a trove of documents that seemed to confirm Fauci had withheld information from Congress and the American people alike regarding his involvement with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). He had previously denied that the NIH funded gain-of-function research at the Chinese lab. The material revealed, however, that such research was funded by NIH grants in multiple years from 2014 through 2019.
The Next Chapter
With the November midterm results expected to show a Republican-controlled House, it’s quite likely that, even after Fauci resigns, he’ll still face an investigation once the 118th Congress gets to work. Several Republicans have practically promised it. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told Fox News: “Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic.” House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer (R-KY) warned as much on Twitter: “Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight. The American people deserve transparency and accountability about how government officials used their taxpayer dollars, and [House Oversight Republicans] will deliver.”
Did the NIAID leader time his resignation as a strategic step out of the limelight right before things heat up? Or perhaps, as he said himself, his time is simply running out. Either way, that “next chapter” in Fauci’s career might just be a federal investigation.