Biden's top medical advisor Anthony Fauci to step down after more than 50 years of government service
Anthony Fauci announced Monday that in December he will step down as chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and chief of his NIAID lab on immunoregulation.
The decision follows heated battles with Republicans on Capitol Hill, particularly Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), over the ever-changing landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic, and what the US did and didn’t do. If Republicans take over either the House or the Senate in this fall’s midterm elections, there’s a likelihood that Fauci would be brought in to testify.
Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the House Oversight committee’s top Republican, said in a statement, “Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight. Emails obtained by Oversight Committee Republicans reveal what Dr. Fauci said publicly about COVID origins was very different than what was said privately.”
But Fauci’s legacy had already been cemented before the pandemic, with 38 years as NIAID director, serving and advising seven presidents — from Reagan to Biden — on various infectious disease threats like HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, anthrax, pandemic influenza, various bird flu threats, Ebola and Zika, among others.
“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said in a statement. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field. I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”
Biden said in a statement that as his chief medical advisor, “I’ve been able to call him at any hour of the day for his advice as we’ve tackled this once-in-a-generation pandemic. His commitment to the work is unwavering, and he does it with an unparalleled spirit, energy, and scientific integrity.”
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra added of the nation’s top infectious disease expert, “This is a decision we all knew would eventually come but hoped never would. As HHS Secretary, I am privileged to know Dr. Fauci professionally and personally and deeply admire his decades of public service that have undoubtedly improved the health of millions of people globally.”
Fauci’s work led to the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and during his time at NIAID, its annual budget grew from $350 million to more than $6 billion. Fauci has also received many awards throughout his career, and in 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom under President George W. Bush.