Anthony Fauci reveals retirement plans: ‘It might be sooner than most people think’

Dr Anthony Fauci, 81, will hang up his lab coat for the last time someday.

He's just not sure when.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent that will be published later today, Dr Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), discussed whether or not he has considered any plans for retirement.

"You know, to be honest with you, I certainly will some time, and I don't think it's going to be a very long time from now," he said.

Dr Fauci has helmed the NIAID for 37 years, and in 2020 became something of a surrogate for liberals frustrated by former President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. During press conferences Dr Fauci appeared visibly uncomfortable and embarrassed by the former president's words, and would even contradict Mr Trump during his cable news appearances.

Even that slight defiance to Mr Trump made him a target of right-wing critics, with former Trump aide Steve Bannon once calling for the doctor's head to be placed on a pike outside the White House as a message to other would-be rabble-rousers.

With the Trump years and the worst of the coronavirus pandemic behind him, it would seem like an opportune time for the doctor to step away and enjoy retirement. But Dr Fauci says he hasn't really had time to consider any of that.

"I haven't really focused on exactly what that would be because we're sort of in the middle of a public health crisis," he said.

According to Dr Fauci, he'll consider retirement once Covid-19 is under "better control," which could be soon, or months or even years from now.

"I'm not trying to be evasive," he said. "It might be sooner than most people think, or it might be later than most people think."

However, during an appearance on Fox News last week, Dr Fauci did claim he would likely retire before the 2024 election.

Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Dr Fauci if he would continue to serve if Mr Trump runs and is elected to a second term in office. Mr Trump famously once told a crowd of supporters chanting "fire Fauci" to "let me wait a little bit after the election."

The doctor said he would not get involved in any politics and did not see himself in the position post-2024.

“By the way, by the time that happens, I think I won’t be around, no matter who the president is,” he told Mr Cavuto.