After Anthony Fauci’s 40-year run as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and chief medical advisor to the president, rumors spread that he was planning to retire.
Rumors about Fauci’s retirement surfaced when Politico published an article on July 18 stating that Fauci planned to retire by the end of Biden’s term in January 2025.
When asked whether he would continue as director of NIAID if Donald Trump should win the election and re-enter the White House in January 2025, Fauci said to The Hill, “I said a very innocent but true thing. I said whether it’s Donald Trump or it’s Joe Biden’s second term, I don’t intend to be in my current position in January of 2025.”
Politico and others interpreted this statement earlier to mean he was retiring rather than merely leaving the position of NIAID director.
While his initial rise to prominence centered around the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, Dr. Fauci had largely remained out of the limelight since then, only to re-emerge as a significant but polarizing figure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Politico, Fauci said that despite his plans to eventually leave NIAID, he fully expects what he describes as partisan attacks to be leveled against him as the country approaches election season. “They’re going to try and come after me, anyway,” Fauci said.
Republicans plan to investigate the details of the NIH director’s alleged participation in colluding to smear experts during the pandemic, or perhaps to the critics who seek details about the millions in royalties allegedly received by the agency, as well as $350 million in payments that the NIH allegedly made to scientific, research, and healthcare industries since 2009.
Fauci expects his opponents would “probably” attack him “less” if he were “not in the job,” he told Politico. He also bemoaned that science had been politicized during the pandemic and stated his desire to counteract that trend.
Speaking to CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Fauci discussed his plans further, denying that he was being forced out of his position for political reasons. “It has nothing to do with pressures, nothing to do with all the other nonsense that you hear about. That has no influence on me,” Fauci asserted.
It is still unclear when exactly Fauci will step down or even why, and he has not mentioned what position he will take on next, whether still within the NIH or not.