Dr. Fauci, who turns 81 on Friday, has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He is highly respected for his decades of work on pandemics, including the spread of AIDS in the 1980s. He became a household name in 2020 as a leading spokesman for the government’s coronavirus response. But Mr. Trump grew to distrust him while in office, and conservatives now often blame him for their concerns about the handling of the pandemic.
In an interview with The New York Times in September, Dr. Fauci spoke about the harassment and threats that he and his family, including his children, had received from “radical extreme right individuals,” including hundreds of emails and text messages with violent language accusing the doctor of being “a killer.”
“It’s all part of what you’re seeing in the intense, fiercely intense polarization that we’re seeing in the country,” Dr. Fauci said in September.
Fox News is a frequent venue for the criticism, and where the doctor is occasionally referred to as “Lord Fauci.” The network’s highest-rated hosts often depict him as an authoritarian determined to strip Americans of basic freedoms. Tucker Carlson has claimed that Dr. Fauci “created Covid,” and accused him of spreading “authoritarian germ hysteria.”
On Oct. 4, Mr. Carlson accused Mr. Fauci of deciding “to unilaterally end Christmas,” in remarks that also included a reference to “sneezing, unvaccinated illegal immigrants coming into this country,” which Mr. Carlson said had contributed to more Covid-19 cases.
Lara Logan, a former CBS News correspondent, used an appearance on Fox News in November to compare Dr. Fauci to Josef Mengele, the notorious Nazi doctor and murderer, prompting a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League. Since then, Ms. Logan has not appeared on Fox News or the streaming platform Fox Nation.
Dr. Fauci, who once appeared fairly regularly on Fox News to discuss the government response to the pandemic, called Ms. Logan’s comments “unconscionable.” He has been mostly absent from the network of late, though he appeared with the anchor Neil Cavuto on Dec. 3; Mr. Cavuto contracted Covid in October and has urged his viewers to be vaccinated.