‘Really kind of unusual’: Fauci responds to Bannon calling for his beheading

Fauci said medical school had not prepared him to deal with threats to put his head on a pike outside the White House

Harriet Alexander
Thursday 12 November 2020 14:53 GMT
Dr Fauci responds to Steve Bannon's call for him to be beheaded
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Anthony Fauci has responded to Steve Bannon calling for his head to be "put on a pike outside the White House," describing the situation as “really kind of unusual”, and not something he was taught to deal with in medical college.

Dr Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was asked by Australian television about the challenges of his job, and his reaction to last week's remarks from Mr Bannon, Donald Trump's former campaign manager.

“It’s obviously been very stressful. I mean, to deny that would be to deny reality,” said Dr Fauci. “When you have public figures like Bannon calling for your beheading, that’s really kind of unusual, I think.

“That’s not the kind of thing you think about when you’re going through medical school to become a physician”

Mr Bannon said on his podcast last week that he would like to put the heads of Dr Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray “on pikes” outside the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. Twitter has taken Mr Bannon's tweet promoting the podcast down. Mr Bannon's Twitter account was suspended.  

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Lawyers representing Mr Bannon in his forthcoming case on charges of defrauding donors to a crowdfunded border wall campaign have quit his legal team in response to his remarks.

Dr Fauci, 79, said earlier in the week that he has no intention of retiring from his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - a job he took up in 1984 - and hopes to continue his work under Joe Biden, who will be his seventh president.

He said that he kept his sanity throughout the political turmoil of the pandemic by focusing on the public health priorities.

"I've gotten through it by really focusing like a laser beam on exactly what my goal is," he said,

"I'm a scientists, I'm a physician. My goal is to help develop vaccines. I think we've been quite successful on that. My next challenges are to develop good therapeutics and the other challenge is to get public health measures to be listened to by the American public."

He said the controversy around his work and distractions from Mr Trump - who has called him an "idiot" - were in his mind "nut junk" to be ignored.

The Brooklyn-born public health expert has been provided with a security detail following death threats.

“You know, people calling for you to be beheaded, fired, thrown into the fire pit, or whatever, that’s just noise” he added.  

“You don’t pay attention to that.”

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