- Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday called comments made by GOP Senator Ron Johnson “infamous”.
- During a podcast aired Wednesday on World AIDS Day, Johnson said Fauci “overhyped” the AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- I have no idea what he’s talking about, “Fauci said during an appearance on CNN’s” State of the Union. ”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded Sunday to claims by GOP senator Ron Johnson that he was “overhyping” the AIDS crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson, a senator from Wisconsin, made the remark below an episode of Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s podcast which was broadcast on Wednesday, which was also World AIDS Day.
“Fauci did exactly the same thing with AIDS. He overhyped it,” Johnson told Kilmeade after claiming U.S. officials were trying to use COVID-19 to create a culture of fear.
“He created all kinds of fear and said it could affect the entire population when it could not,” Johnson said, according to The Advocate, without giving examples. “And he does, he uses the exact same handbook with COVID, ignores therapy, pushes a vaccine.”
Fauci withdrew from the comments, saying he did not understand what Johnson was talking about.
“Jake, how do you react to something as absurd as that?” Fauci asked host Jake Tapper during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Overhyping AIDS that has killed over 750,000 Americans and 36 million people worldwide? How do you overhype it?”
– The Recount (@therecount) December 5, 2021
“Overhyping COVID, which has already killed 780,000 Americans over 5 million people worldwide. So I have no idea what he’s talking about,” Fauci added.
“I do not think he does either,” Tapper replied.
Fauci, who also works as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said in a documentary earlier this year that he had post-traumatic stress disorder from spearheading the U.S. response to the HIV / AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It was all bad, bad, worse, worse, worse, worse, worse,” he said in the film, which began streaming on Disney + in October. “It was just so incredibly frustrating when you’re used to being able to fix things and you just don’t really fix anything.”
As Insider’s Aria Bendix noted, Fauci, which has been a frequent target for right-wingers during the COVID-19 pandemic, was also exposed to backlash during the HIV / AIDS epidemic. That setback came from activists who believed Fauci was not working fast enough to begin clinical tracks, according to the previous report.