At age 81, the fallacious Dr. Anthony Fauci is living proof that self-love can’t kill you. If self-love could kill you, Dr. Fauci would be pushing up daisies instead of basking in the glow of his bottomless self-regard. His official motto — “La Science, c’est moi” — is fit for a king.
Students of ancient history may recall that only last month Fauci contemplated leading the NIAID and advising President Biden until the end of “the Biden administration term,” as he put it in an interview with Politico. The good news was that he would be leaving. The bad news was that his leaving was long overdue. The funny news was that he gave himself room to stick around in case Biden were to leave office early. He intended to stick around until “the end of President Joe Biden’s term,” as Politico put it.
Something happened. Yesterday Dr. Fauci released a statement announcing that he would step down from his NIAID and White House positions in December. He must anticipate the arrival of a post-election Republican majority in at least one chamber of Congress.
Politico quoted Fauci last month:
“We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this,” Biden’s chief medical adviser said when asked whether he is staying in his role out of a sense of obligation.
He’s not. But his assessment, that we’ll live with Covid-19 for many years to come, is a startling admission from the longtime infectious disease expert who said the country could flatten the curve and achieve herd immunity, first through social distancing and then vaccination.
In his July 18 Wall Street Journal Best of the Web column James Freeman anticipated Fauci’s announcement yesterday (emphasis added):
If Dr. Fauci lives to be 105 he will likely never be able to undo the damage that Covid policies inflicted on America’s children. He promoted shutdown policies that isolated them from friends, opportunities and care, saddled them with trillions of dollars in federal debt and—due to degraded education—reduced their future earnings. He never could have sold lockdowns in 2020 if he had said then what’s he’s saying today about the long-term presence of Covid.
Even in the spring of 2020 there was ample reason to question the wisdom of lockdowns, and many of us did. There was ample evidence that kids faced little risk from Covid and that schools would not be the superspreaders of media lore. There was also ample reason to focus on protecting the vulnerable rather than turning society upside down. Dr. Fauci’s endorsement of school closures while freely acknowledging he did not have a thorough understanding of the harms should be a lesson in schools of public health on the need to avoid panicked responses to future viruses.
This column will go out on a limb and predict that if Republicans take one or both houses of Congress this fall—gaining oversight authority and subpoena power—Dr. Fauci will be leaving long before Jan. 20, 2025.
I would like to say that goodbye is too good a word, so I’ll just say fare the well, but farewell is too good a word too.