October 20, 2020

It’s Time, Dr. Fauci

To the Editor:

Vice President Mike Pence recently led a public briefing of the Covid-19 task force with a self-congratulatory statement: “We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives.” False, false, false. Standing quietly behind this series of falsehoods was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, implying by his presence support of the task force.

While Dr. Fauci has diplomatically disagreed with it from time to time, his overall presence could cause some to believe that the task force has his general approval.

The Trump administration is severely limiting Dr. Fauci’s influence by withholding its permission for interviews, lectures and other public discussions. Consider what our late mutual friend Larry Kramer might have said: “Tony, how can you lend the slightest support to these incompetent idiots who are killing Americans?”

This is a time when Dr. Fauci should not be restricted in expressing exactly how he feels on all issues. This is a time when Dr. Fauci should do the right and courageous thing — resign from the task force. That applies with equal force to Dr. Deborah Birx.

William D. Zabel
New York
The writer is a founding partner of the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel.