The White House has reportedly beefed up the security team for Dr. Anthony Fauci after he has faced a rise in death threats, but the top medical expert on the coronavirus said he won’t let threats stop him from doing his job.
CNN reported that the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General, the agency’s law enforcement arm, has called on U.S. Marshals Service for help in setting up personal security for the top White House doctor amid an increase in threats to his personal safety. The Washington, D.C., Metro Police Department has also stationed officers outside Fauci’s home at all times in response to the death threats, the report added.
Fauci had been asked about reports that he had received increased security on Wednesday but referred the question back to the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department. Donald Trump then stepped in to quash the reports.
“(He) doesn’t need security, everybody loves them,” the president said. “Besides that, they’d be in big trouble if they ever attacked.”
Fauci expanded on the reports in an appearance on CBS This Morning on Thursday, saying he is used to being under pressure from his work in addressing epidemics and won’t let threats stop him from doing his job.
“You know, it’s my job. This is the life I’ve chosen and I’m doing it,” he said. “Obviously there is a lot of pressure and I would be foolish to deny that, but that’s what I do. I’ve been through crises like this before dating back, you know, 37 years from the very beginning of the HIV epidemic. It’s a job to do, and we’ve just go to do it.”
Fauci has reportedly carried significant sway with Trump and influence over his decision-making process regarding the federal response to the outbreak. The CNN report noted that it was Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx who convinced Trump to extend shutdown guidelines after presenting models that showed between 100,000 and 200,000 people could die.
Prior to this, Trump had been floating the idea of reopening the country on Easter, April 12, going against the advice of medical experts who say the country needs to remain shut down for weeks longer in order to slow the spread of the virus. Trump had also previously downplayed the severity of the virus, saying it would soon go away in the United States but has since addressed it in much more serious terms.
The report did not specify what kind of threat Fauci had received, or the reason behind it.