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What ran through Fauci’s mind when Trump suggested injecting disinfectant?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on Dec. 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. (Patrick Semansky/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before receiving his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on Dec. 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. (Patrick Semansky/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

With a new administration in the White House, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is free to reflect on how former President Donald Trump managed the pandemic, including his incorrect suggestion that household disinfectant could be used as an “injection inside” the body to kill COVID-19.

“I just said, ‘Oh, my goodness gracious,’” Fauci recalled during a CNN interview Monday night. “‘I could just see what’s going to happen. You’re going to have people who hear that from the president and are going to start doing dangerous and foolish things.’”

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Immediately after the notorious White House press conference last spring, Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several disinfectant companies warned against ingesting or injecting the products. Trump and his staff insisted that he’d spoken sarcastically.

In addition to frustration with medical misinformation, Fauci shared what he thought when seeing the attack on the Capitol earlier this month. “Jan. 6 to me was like, oh my goodness, here it is in its ultimate — it’s purely a reflection of divisiveness that is so deep that it’s disturbing. ... I just see that being nothing but destructive,” he said.

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Since being catapulted into the public eye, Fauci has been subject to scorn, intimidation and death threats — including receiving an envelope containing a substance he feared was ricin.

“Until the examination came back and we found out it was harmless powder, my children were very, very distraught,” he said. “And that’s more painful to me than somebody, some jerk, threatening my life.”

But things are looking up for the 80-year-old. Late last week, the new administration announced that the United States will resume funding for the World Health Organization. Fauci was also named chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. The recent change in the doctor’s demeanor has been celebrated on social media, with one Twitter user noting that he has a “new relationship glow.”

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