Top scientist says GOP and Trump tried to bully him into firing Fauci

‘I was not going to compromise scientific principles’, said outgoing NIH head

Gino Spocchia
Monday 20 December 2021 13:35 GMT
Top scientist says Trump tried to bully him into firing Fauci for ‘political concerns’

Dr Francis Collins, the outgoing head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said he faced pressure from Donald Trump and Republican figures to fire its director, Dr Anthony Fauci, for “political concerns”.

Dr Collins told CBS News on Sunday that Covid forced him into confrontation with members of the Republican Party as well as the former president, who frequently clashed with the NIH on how to combat Covid.

Talking about Dr Fauci’s work on Mr Trump’s Covid task force, Dr Collins said he was forced to defend his colleague and who he described as “the greatest expert in infectious disease the world has known” following calls for his dismissal.

He said: “Can you imagine a circumstance where the director of the NIH, somebody who believes in science, would submit to political pressures and fire the greatest expert in infectious disease the world has known just to satisfy political concerns?”

The now former NIH head said he even “got a bit of a talking to” from Mr Trump for refusing to back a number of so-called “cures” for the virus, which included blood plasma transfers, disinfectant, and sunlight – all of which were bogus.

Dr Collins said he often “stood firm” against the former president and that, “I have done everything I can to stay out of any kind of political, partisan debates because it is really not a place where medical research belongs”.

He added: “I was not going to compromise scientific principles to just hold onto the job.”

More than 800,000 Americans have died during the Covid outbreak.

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