Fauci avoids weighing in on Steve Bannon’s ‘beheading’ threat or the contentious election

Harriet Alexander
Saturday 07 November 2020 00:29 GMT
Steve Bannon calls for Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray to be beheaded

Dr Anthony Fauci is avoiding the political storm swirling around him, refusing to say whether he is watching the election, and keeping quiet about Steve Bannon’s threat to behead him when asked by The Independent.

Dr Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, has regularly been attacked by Donald Trump for his public health recommendations during the pandemic. 

The 79-year-old head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said reopening the country too quickly was a bad idea, and described Mr Trump’s mass rallies - which are now believed to have caused an additional 30,000 cases of Covid-19, according to Stanford University researchers - as “asking for trouble".

His fact-based, scientific approach has made him a lightning rod for Mr Trump and his allies, with the president labelling him an “idiot”.

On Wednesday night Mr Bannon, Mr Trump’s former campaign manager, declared on his podcast that he would put Dr Fauci’s “head on a pike outside the White House” as a sign of how he had betrayed the nation.

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Twitter deleted Mr Bannon’s account for sharing the remark, and on Thursday the lawyers representing Mr Bannon in his forthcoming court case, on charges of defrauding Trump supporters with a “build the wall” crowdfunding effort, announced they were quitting.

Dr Fauci’s office, however, told the Independent that he did not wish to comment on either the election, or on Mr Bannon’s remarks.

The Brooklyn-born health expert, a household name in the United States, has long been admired for his ability to remain above the fray.

When Mr Trump called him an idiot, in a phone call to donors, Dr Fauci laughed it off and quoted The Godfather.

“You just have a job to do,” he told The New Yorker

“Even when somebody’s acting ridiculous, you can’t chide them for it, you’ve got to deal with them, because if you don’t deal with them then you’re out of the picture.

”‘It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.’ That’s just how I look at it.”

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