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
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Democratic Party (US), Deep state, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Conspiracy
  • Outlet: Sputnik France
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All European doors were closed to Italy

At a time of distress, Italy fell under an embargo as if it were facing leprosy and all European doors were closed.

Disproof

A pro-Kremlin narrative consistent with disinformation narrative that the EU is collapsing as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 outbreak challenged EU’s response capabilities, but a claim that "EU has done nothing" is false.

EU is ruled by an American NATO General

The real executive ruler of the European nation (European Union) is the American administration.

The clear evidence of such is that 22 of the 26 countries are in the NATO military system, which is governed by an American general named by the American President himself.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries. 

The European Union was created by the voluntary initiative of European nations. Its citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and Member States are represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The United States of America is not part of these institutions. The US had no role in the creation of the EU and has no say in its decisions.

We have nothing to lose by using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19

There [is] a pandemic going on, with billions of people locked in their homes and all business grinding to a halt across the globe, over apocalyptic predictions of hospitals brimming with corpses due to this coronavirus.

Should any kind of treatment – especially a drug that has been used safely for decades to treat something else, with side effects meticulously documented – be so cavalierly rejected, under the circumstances? Do “experts” really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?

To ask these questions is to answer them, yet no one seems to bother. Nor is this sort of selective blindness endemic to France; across the Atlantic, the mainstream media raised their voices in unison against chloroquine after US President Donald Trump brought it up as a possible treatment – apparently referring to Dr. Raoult’s work.

Dr. Raoult seems to believe [that hydroxychloroquine works on Covid-19], and he’s not alone. In the absence of better solutions – and locking billions of people in their homes indefinitely is not one – don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?

Disproof

This is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, and specifically its efforts to spread false or misleading health information related to COVID-19, its prevention, and its treatment. See similar false claims like that COVID-19 can be cured with saline solution, that treatment for COVID-19 will lead to forced vaccination, and that handwashing is useless for preventing the spread of the virus. False and misleading health claims are the most dangerous and irresponsible aspect of coronavirus-related disinformation, as they can have a direct impact on people’s health and even their lives.

In an egregious display of irresponsibility, this article argues that a treatment for another disease – which has not been tested for use against COVID-19 and is not recommended by health authorities, including the WHO and the European Medicine Agency – should be made available to the public without further research or testing. The article actively tries to cast doubt on medical and scientific expertise, asking leading questions like “Do ‘experts’ really think the world has the luxury of waiting for months or even years for their controlled lab studies?” and “In the absence of better solutions…don’t we owe humanity to at least try? What do we have to lose?”