epublican lawmakers and other prominent conservatives have ramped up their efforts to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci following the release of an email showing that Fauci believed face masks were “not really effective in keeping out virus” in February 2020.
Fauci’s email to Sylvia Burwell, presumed to be the same Sylvia Burwell who served as U.S. secretary of health and human services during the Obama administration, was sent on February 5, more than a month before the pandemic was declared. The contents of the private correspondence, one of many emails obtained by Buzzfeed News and The Washington Post, did not significantly differ from Fauci’s public views on masks at the time.
Fauci, who is currently President Joe Biden‘s chief medical adviser, told Burwell that she did not need to wear a mask during an upcoming trip, particularly because she was “going to a very low risk location.” He explained that store-bought masks were “really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection.”
About two months later, when more was known about the transmission of the virus and the effectiveness of masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines to recommend mask wearing. Fauci followed suit at that point. Regardless, the correspondence has been taken by some as evidence that Fauci was intentionally deceptive on masks, accompanied by a flood of renewed calls for his dismissal on social media.
“Told you… #FireFauci,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tweeted. “Can’t wait to see the media try to spin the Fauci FOIA emails.”
“It’s time to fire Fauci! Emails that have been released now under Freedom of Information Act show two very important things: 1. FAUCI has been lying 2. I’ve been right all along,” Paul later added in a tweet to his personal account, followed by a donation link.
“Fauci’s leaked emails are shocking to say the least,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). “He needs to be FIRED! I introduced a bill to do just that … HR 2316, the ‘Fire Fauci Act.'”
“We’ve been needing to #FireFauci for months now, but after these #FauciEmails we simply cannot wait another day,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted. “How many lives could have been saved if these people were worried about science rather than PR?”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted only the hashtag #FireFauci alongside a copy the Burwell email. Scott T. Parkinson, vice president of government affairs at the conservative group Club for Growth, also shared the Burwell email alongside the #FauciEmails and #FireFauci hashtags.
Thousands of pages of Fauci’s emails were released under the Freedom of Information Act. Fauci does not appear to have himself expressed views that were inconsistent with his public statements on COVID-19 at the time in any of the emails.