Elizabeth Warren Blames Trump Administration for Fauci Needing Security Detail

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has suggested the Trump administration is to blame for death threats against Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, the 79-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has had a security detail since April. However, the public health official's recent interview with CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, in which he was seen being accompanied by security during a power walking session, highlighted the arrangement once again.

In response to the interview, Warren accused the Trump administration of ignoring science and inciting violence. Acts which, she said, explained why a public health official now needs protection from threats.

The quote

"In Donald Trump's America, public health officials receive death threats for helping to keep us safe," Warren tweeted on Monday, sharing a CBS clip showing Fauci walking with security agents in tow.

"This is the result of an administration that smears science, spreads conspiracies, and incites violence at every turn," she wrote.

Why it matters

Infectious diseases expert Fauci has been a leading figure in the U.S. response to COVID-19. He has appeared with the president at press conferences and became a widely recognized figure as the nation grappled with the pandemic.

In March, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar became concerned about online attacks on Fauci, according to Politico. His department conducted a threat assessment, before the Justice Department approved a request to provide the security.

Fauci spoke to NBC's Today Show about the threats against him and his family on April 2, saying: "There are things about it that sometimes are disturbing, but you just focus on the job you have to do and just put all that other stuff aside and try as best as possible not to pay attention to it and just forge ahead."

"We have a really, really, very, very difficult situation ahead of us. All of that other stuff is secondary," he said.

Context

President Trump has repeatedly criticized scientists on COVID-19 and he's taken aim at Fauci himself.

On a campaign call on Monday—the day after since the 60 Minutes interview aired—Trump called Fauci a "disaster", CNN reported.

"Fauci is a nice guy," Trump said. "He's been here for 500 years."

At a Nevada rally just hours after Fauci's interview aired, Trump criticized scientists more broadly.

"If I'd listen to the scientists we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression instead of – we're like a rocket ship, look at the numbers," he said.

The president has separately been accused of inciting violence, most recently with his comments to the far-right group Proud Boys during the first presidential debate on September 30. Trump declined to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups and told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by."

Elizabeth Warren Speaks During a News Conference
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a news conference concerning the extension of eviction protections in the next coronavirus bill, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2020. Warren has lamented the fact that Dr. Anthony Fauci needs a security detail. Drew Angerer/Getty Images