White House rips ‘disgusting’ Elon Musk for ‘Prosecute/Fauci’ tweet

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White House rips ‘disgusting’ Elon Musk for ‘Prosecute/Fauci’ tweet

WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre slammed Twitter CEO Elon Musk Monday for what she called his “disgusting” tweets calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be prosecuted for allegedly lying to Congress and potentially causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Musk, the world’s richest man, tweeted Sunday, “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.” He clarified later that he was referring, in part, to Fauci allegedly perjuring himself by denying that his agency funded risky “gain of function” research in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began.

“These personal attacks that we have been seeing are dangerous, on Dr. Fauci and other public health professionals as well. They are disgusting and they are divorced from reality. And we will continue to call that out,” Jean-Pierre said at her regular briefing.

“These are incredibly dangerous — these personal attacks that we are seeing. Dr. Fauci has served under seven Republican and Democratic presidents, we cannot forget that. He has given his almost entire career to civil service,” she added.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Elon Musk's tweets were "dangerous" and "disgusting."
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Elon Musk’s tweets were “dangerous” and “disgusting.”
Getty Images

“His work on infectious disease from HIV/AIDS to COVID has saved countless lives…. [and] we are fortunate that he has devoted his career and his life and his exceptional talent to America’s public health.”

Fauci, 81, is retiring this month after serving as the US government’s top infectious disease expert since 1984 and as President Biden’s chief medical adviser since last year. The longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will resign just before House Republicans retake power.

Musk also posted a meme Sunday depicting Fauci as the nefarious Grima Wormtongue from “The Lord of The Rings” whispering, “just one more lockdown, my king” in the ear of Biden — depicted as the aged and weakened King Theoden of Rohan.

Fauci has become one of the most polarizing public figures during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 1.1 million Americans and at least 6.6 million people globally.

Democrats generally view Fauci as a responsible public servant and as a respected voice of caution, while Republicans have faulted him for inconsistent health guidance, including initially recommending against protective face masks, only to later urge wearing multiple masks.

Fauci also sought to tamp down early speculation that COVID-19 emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the same city where the pandemic began in late 2019. Fauci repeatedly testified to Congress that the US government didn’t fund “gain of function” research at the Wuhan lab to manipulate viruses in a way that could increase their transmissibility for purposes of research.

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci testified to Congress that his agency didn’t fund “gain of function” in Wuhan.
AFP via Getty Images

Fauci told Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a May 2021 hearing that “the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Paul accused Fauci of lying and attempting to redefine the term “gain of function.”

Documents published by The Intercept months later, in September 2021, revealed that EcoHealth Alliance used US grants to fund Wuhan lab experiments that modified three bat coronaviruses distinct from COVID-19. The research discovered that the viruses became much more infectious among “humanized” mice when human-type receptors were added to them. 

Lying to Congress is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk
Twitter CEO Elon Musk said Fauci should face criminal charges.
via REUTERS

Fauci said more recently the viruses modified in the Wuhan studies documented by The Intercept could not have developed into COVID-19, but skeptics say that it’s possible additional yet-to-be-disclosed research could have led to the pandemic.

In October, Fauci’s agency announced $5 million in new grants for the EcoHealth Alliance despite the US intelligence community assessing in August 2021 that a lab release in Wuhan was one of two “plausible” explanations for the pandemic’s origins, along with natural animal-to-human transmission.

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