Anthony Fauci on Saturday lashed out at Elon Musk after the Tesla CEO said the former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director should be prosecuted over his handling of the pandemic.
"Prosecute me for what," Fauci said during a CNN interview when asked about a December 2022 Musk tweet in which the billionaire said his pronouns were "Prosecute/Fauci." "There's no response to that craziness. ... I wish I could figure out what the heck they're talking about. I think they're just going off the deep end."
The remarks come as reports show Fauci commissioned and edited a scientific paper in February 2020 to dismiss the lab leak theory. Both the Energy Department and FBI have concluded the virus likely came from a lab leak at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, which received funding from Fauci's agency.
Fauci referred to the paper, titled "The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2," during a White House press conference on April 17, 2020, during which he pretended to be unfamiliar with the authors. Yet Fauci held a call with the four authors in February 2020 to discuss new evidence that the pandemic originated from a leak at the Wuhan lab. Fauci then reviewed drafts of the paper, which claimed that COVID likely emerged from an animal-to-human infection, for edits before its publication, the New York Post reported.
In January, federal investigators called out egregious errors made in the Wuhan research that Fauci and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded through the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance.
"As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people," Musk tweeted in December. "Not awesome [in my opinion]."
Musk has been vocal in criticizing Fauci since then. "Fauci egregiously betrayed the public trust," Musk said last week in response to an article on Fauci’s lab leak cover-up.