Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly denied that he was being “muzzled” or “censored” by the Trump administration early on during the coronavirus pandemic, a trove of newly released emails show.
Democratic politicians and media figures have long espoused that former President Trump censored scientists and public health experts — including Fauci — in the early stages of the pandemic. But several messages among 3,200 pages of Fauci’s emails recently obtained by BuzzFeed News through a Freedom of Information Act request poke a massive hole in that theory.
Over and again between January and June of last year, Fauci, who now serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, adamantly denied insinuations that he was being censored by the administration.
“The news media is reporting that the White House has muzzled you. Is that true?” Thomas Murray, a self-described nuclear/aerospace engineer who subsequently obtained an MPH [Master of Public Health degree] at the University of Washington, asked in one email.
Later in the message, he told Fauci to “let me know if I should stay silent or become noisy.”
Fauci replied: “Please stay silent since I have not been muzzled. I will be on multiple TV shows tomorrow and was on FOX this AM. No one is censoring me.”
In response to a similar question from syndicated columnist Bob Franken, Fauci insisted that he had “never been given orders to get approval from the VP’s [Mike Pence] people to speak publicly about coronavirus.”
“I have never been muzzled or told that I could not speak out publicly about anything during this administration,” he reiterated to Franken after describing the routine process in which members of the executive branch get cleared to speak on national television shows.