Dr. Anthony Fauci is assured that Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has no idea what he's talking about when speaking about HIV/AIDS.
Fauci reacted to comments by Johnson that he had overblown the omicron variant in the same way that he "overhyped" the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
"Overhyping AIDS? It killed over 750,000 Americans and 36 million people worldwide. How do you overhype that?" Fauci said in his interview with Jake Tapper. "Overhyping COVID? It's already killed 780,000 Americans and over 5 million people worldwide, so I don't have any clue what he's talking about."
"I don't think he does either," Tapper stated in agreement.
Johnson made news on Wednesday when he told Brian Kilmeade on Fox that the government needed to produce a "state of fear" to "maintain the controls" over society.
"That's what you're seeing here in the United States," the Wisconsin Republican claimed. "I mean, by the way, Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS. He overhyped it. He created all kinds of fear, saying it could infect the entire population when it couldn't, and he's using the exact same playbook with COVID: ignoring therapy, pushing a vaccine."
Johnson's comments were made on World AIDS Day, a national day of recognition for those who died of AIDS, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Fauci was one of the first medical researchers researching HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. He has since directed the last seven presidential administrations regarding the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Meanwhile, the conflicting picture about the virus has left the president to juggle dueling messages, one advocating a return to life as normal, the other driving sustained precautions. There seems little prospect of a definitive ending or claim of victory. About 47% of Americans approve of Biden's handling of the pandemic while 49% disapprove, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll.
Michael Steele, former chairman of the RNC, announced he would award the president about five marks out of 10 so far. "Given the success they had early on in getting the vaccine program put in place, shots in arms and all that, when the [Delta] variant hit it caught them flat-footed and took them by surprise.
"The administration lost a lot of the gains it had made coming in the door because it shattered people's confidence in their ability to not only handle what was going on but to actually know what was going on."
Steele, a longtime critic of Trump, stressed that calculated attacks and obstruction from the right present a further obstacle to the country's recovery from the pandemic. "Biden doesn't want to further politicize Covid and yet you have Republicans and that's all they know how to do."