Disinfo: Dr. Fauci, an admirer of Hillary Clinton, threatened Trump with a major epidemic before 2020

Summary

In 2017, a few days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in an Interview to Healio threatened the new president that a major epidemic will hit the US by 2020. Furthermore Wikileaks revealed that Anthony Fauci was an admirer of Hillary Clinton. Those strange prophecies materialized before 2020 elections, what a coincidence!

Disproof

This is yet another unfounded conspiracy theory about the coronavirus pushed by pro-Kremlin outlets as part of their disinformation campaign around COVID-19, which also involves attempts to undermine expert medical guidelines and the public health response. In this case, the focus is on discrediting Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has been the leading expert voice of the US administration's pandemic response, by falsely and absurdly suggesting that he "threatened" President Trump with an epidemic as a result of personal sympathies towards Hillary Clinton. The article thus insinuates that the coronavirus may have been intentionally engineered by the US Deep State - a frequent pro-Kremlin disinformation trope - in order to undermine Donald Trump. Dr. Fauci, a career immunologist, has led the NIAID for more than three decades. In this capacity, he has dealt with the outbreaks of multiple infectious diseases, advising six US presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. He was one of the main architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world. Since becoming the face of the US pandemic response, Dr. Fauci has become popularly known as America’s Doctor. The article in Healio doesn't involve an interview with Dr. Fauci, contrary to the claim above, but reports on his public comments at a forum on pandemic preparedness at Georgetown University in 2017. Here, Dr. Fauci said that the Trump administration will not only be challenged by ongoing global health threats such as influenza and HIV, but likely also a surprise disease outbreak, as had occurred in years past with the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. “The history of the last 32 years that I have been the director of the NIAID will tell the next administration that there is no doubt they will be faced with the challenges their predecessors were faced with,” he said. The context of these remarks evinces their purpose as a public expert warning rather than a "threat" to the Trump administration, as the Sputnik article falsely tries to suggest. In addition, the technique of presenting unrelated facts as a strange coincidence is commonly used by conspiracy theorists in order to manufacture non-existent causality links and induce cognitive biases in the reader's mind (i.e., the reference to Dr. Fauci's admiration of Hillary Clinton). This technique is based on formulations and insinuations that encourage readers to connect the dots by themselves, rather than making explicit claims which can be more easily debunked. For similar cases regarding conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, see here, here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Democratic Party (US), Deep state, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Conspiracy theory
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Disproof

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Disproof

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Disproof

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