White House says Elon Musk's condemnation of Anthony Fauci is 'dangerous' and 'disgusting'

In viral tweet, billionaire slams veteran immunologist who has served seven US presidents

Since Elon Musk, left, took over Twitter, there has been an enormous spike in hate speech. AFP
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Billionaire Elon Musk's public condemnation of top US health official Anthony Fauci is “dangerous” and “disgusting” and should be called out, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday.

“They are disgusting, and they are divorced from reality, and we will continue to call that out and be very clear about that,” Ms Jean-Pierre said.

She praised Dr Fauci's handling of public heath crises, including the coronavirus pandemic.

At the weekend, Mr Musk had tweeted: “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.”

As the tweet went viral, the chief executive of Twitter and electric car maker Tesla replied to his own post, saying: “Truth resonates.”

Dr Fauci, who said he planned to retire in December as President Joe Biden's top medical adviser and top US infectious disease official, has dealt with the thorny questions around health crises from HIV/Aids to avian flu to Ebola.

The veteran immunologist has served as an adviser to seven US presidents, beginning with Republican Ronald Reagan, and has been in public service for more than 50 years.

But it was his handling of Covid — and his blunt assessments from the White House podium that Americans needed to change their behaviour in light of the pandemic — that made him a hero to public health advocates while serving under former president Donald Trump, a villain to some on the right and an unusual celebrity among bureaucratic officials used to toiling in obscurity.

The US leads the world in recorded Covid-19 deaths with more than one million.

Dr Fauci has said he has faced death threats. He endured criticism from Mr Trump and from various conservatives who objected to safeguards such as vaccination, social distancing and masking that he advocated to try to limit the lethality of the pandemic.

Republicans also threatened to probe Dr Fauci if they got control of Congress in the midterm elections, in which they won control of the House of Representatives while the Democrats narrowly retained control of the Senate.

Updated: December 12, 2022, 11:35 PM