Dr. Anthony Fauci has gotten threats after his public disagreements with President Donald Trump

By KC Baker
April 02, 2020 03:04 PM
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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert who has been working to stop the coronavirus pandemic, will receive 24-hour security after receiving threats to his personal safety, according to multiple outlets.

On Monday, the Washington Post was the first to report that the government has ramped up the personal security detail for Fauci, 79, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force.

Often seen at Trump’s side during White House coronavirus media updates and in numerous TV interviews about the pandemic, Fauci has emerged as a top figure in the fight against the highly infectious virus — urging citizens to stay home and social distance to slow the spread of the outbreak and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

While Fauci is well known and highly-regarded in the field of public health and has worked with both Republican and Democratic presidents for decades, he is a new face to many Americans.

His calm, matter-of-fact demeanor has earned many admirers, but his newfound fame has come at a price: While interviewing Fauci on Thursday, CBS This Morning’s Gayle King brought up the recent reports about Fauci having to beef up security and asked him about the “personal pressure” of being the face of the coronavirus pandemic for the American public.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
| Credit: William B. Plowman/NBC/Getty

“You know, it’s my job,” Fauci replied. “This is the life I’ve chosen, and I’m doing it. “I mean, obviously there’s a lot of pressure. I would be foolish to deny that. … It’s a job to do, and we’ve just got to do it.”

His job includes delivering sobering news to the nation about potential fatalities, and advising Americans to stay home and practice social distancing.

He’s also been open about disagreeing with the president on some issues. “He goes his own way,” he told Science magazine in March. “He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.”

When the president invoked the “Deep State” conspiracy theory when describing the State Department, Fauci covered his face and appeared to stifle a laugh — which went viral on social media.

His corrections of Trump’s misstatements about the pandemic have made him a target of some on the far-right, The New York Times reports.

Still, Trump seems to value Fauci’s expertise. During a Fox News town hall about the virus, Trump insisted he had a good relationship with Fauci and other experts on the task force.

“We get along very well,” the president said. “Tony’s extraordinary. I get along with all of them.”

But after receiving an increasing number of threats as well as unwanted attention from overzealous fans, as the Washington Post reports, the Department of Health and Human Services asked the U.S. Marshals Service to provide security for Fauci both at work and at home.

Officers from the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department are also standing guard around Fauci’s home, CNN reports.

During a White House briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Fauci declined to comment on whether he had been forced to increase security, CNN reports.

“Anything that has to do with security detail I would have to have you [ask the question] to the inspector general of HHS,” he said, according to CNN.

Trump quickly took to the podium, saying “[He] doesn’t need security, everybody loves him. Besides that, they’d be in big trouble if they ever attacked.”

The U.S. now has the most cases of coronavirus in the world. As of Thursday morning, there are at least 214,461 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, according to a New York Times database, and at least 4,841 people have died from a coronavirus-related illness. The death toll has quadrupled over the last week.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.