Don Jr hit with backlash for Fauci Twitter poll

A trove of recently released emails from is driving the latest right wing meltdown over the health expert

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 03 June 2021 18:44
<p>Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee</p>

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Donald Trump Jr added to the noise being made over Dr Anthony Fauci in right wing media following the release of a trove of his emails.

Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease as well as the most recognizable pandemic expert in the country, has long been a target for Donald Trump supporters.

Many supporters of the former president saw the doctor - often standing behind Mr Trump with his head in his hands, clearly dismayed by the president's words - as an undermining contrarian who served a political, and not scientific agenda.

The president's son is among those who hold a grudge against the doctor.

On Thursday, Don Jr shared a poll on Twitter asking respondents "Which of of these is Anthony Fauci best at?"

The responses were "science," "baseball/pitching," and "destroying America."

More than 85 per cent of the 64,000 responses picked "destroying America."

However, the doctor had his fair share of supporters, many who took time to remind Don Jr that they held someone very close to him accountable for actually destroying the country.

Contempt for Dr Fauci has only grown among the right, with Fox News entertainer Tucker Carlson going so far as to suggest the doctor had lied to Americans about the provenance of the coronavirus.

Senator Rand Paul and other Republicans have engaged in conspiracy theories trying to link Dr Facui and the NIAID to a research lab in Wuhan, China. They claim that the NIAID under Dr Fauci's leadership was funding "gain-of-function" research on SARS.

"Gain-of-function" is a broad term that describes an alteration in an organism or disease that changes it in some way, which can include increased transmission potential, increased range of potential spread, or a change in how it spreads.

The appearance of the phrase “gain-of-function” in one of the recently released emails added fuel to the conspiratorial fires.

The email chain involved Dr Fauci sharing an article with a colleague from the journal Nature Medicine from 2015 in which researchers determined that “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.”

In the exchange, a top deputy at NIAID, Hugh Auchincloss, uses the phrase when discussing research at the Wuhan laboratories.

“The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause [in October 2014] but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH,” Mr Auchincloss wrote in an email to Dr Fauci. “Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”

The subtext of the conspiracy theory is that NIAID and Chinese researchers were experimenting on SARS to make it more transmissible and that the coronavirus either escaped or was allowed to escape from that facility.

Dr Fauci maintains there is no truth to the conspiracy theory, telling Mr Paul that NIAID "categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

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