Dr. Anthony Fauci took a barely veiled swipe at former President Donald Trump and Republicans during a college commencement speech Friday — just two days after claiming he wouldn’t “get involved in any politics” related to the 2024 election.
Speaking to more than 3,700 graduates of the City College of New York in Harlem, Fauci said, “It is blatantly obvious that we are experiencing a deepening divisiveness in our nation, fed by a flagrant devaluation of the truth.”
“While genuine differences of opinion or ideology are part of a healthy society, increasingly we are hearing, reading and seeing outlandish statements and pronouncements propped up by deliberate distortions of reality,” he said during his keynote address.
“Fabrications, conspiracy theories and outright lies are becoming commonplace from radical fringe groups as well as from people who you would hope would know better — and you know who they are.”
The remarks by President Biden’s chief medical adviser and longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were greeted by an apparent shout of approval from someone in the audience.
“I think it was a bold and correct move by Fauci to speak on that and bring that light to that at our graduation,” said Daisy Pinos, 24, of Queens, who received a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
“He definitely has the right audience here, and he knew that.”
Maliha Khan, 23, of Queens, called Fauci’s address “funny.”
“I love the fact that everyone knew who he was talking about,” said Khan, who received a bachelor’s degree in international studies and economics.
“The girl behind me was like, ‘Yeah, that’s our ex-president.’”
On Wednesday, Fauci told Fox News that he’d steer clear of discussing the 2024 election, amid ongoing speculation over whether Trump will run again.
“Well, I’m not going to get involved in any politics about who is or is not going in the White House,” he said.
“By the way, by the time that happens, I think I won’t be around, no matter who the president is.”
Fauci, 81, was memorably recorded covering his face with his hand when Trump cracked a joke about “the Deep State Department” during a coronavirus briefing in March 2020.
The two later clashed repeatedly over the federal response to the pandemic, with Trump saying that Fauci “has been wrong a lot” and hinting that he’d be fired if Trump won re-election.
Last month, Fauci said he wouldn’t work in the White House under Trump.
“If you look at the history of what the [pandemic] response was during the [Trump] administration, I think at best you could say it wasn’t optimal,” he told CNN on May 16.