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Fauci: It's ‘liberating’ to let the ‘science speak’ without fear of repercussions

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At a White House press conference Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci made several remarks about what it was like working with the Trump administration, saying that his transparency got him “in trouble sometimes.” He said that now, however, it's “somewhat of a liberating feeling” to base his statements on science without fear of a backlash from President Biden.

Video Transcript

- How helpful would it have been if Amazon got involved with the federal response to COVID-19 before Biden took office, and do you know about any plans or discussions ahead of yesterday?

ANTHONY FAUCI: No, I don't think I could answer that question. I'd be waving my hands about that, sorry. Well, you know, one of the new things in this administration is if you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer. Yeah.

- You're one of the few holdovers from the previous administration to this current one. What has been your experience with this new team. And in your view, what would have been different in terms of the trajectory of this outbreak from the start had a team like this been in place at the beginning?

ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, I can tell you my impression of what's going on right now. The team-- I don't know if I can extrapolate other things, but one of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the president, is that one of the things that we're gonna do is to be completely transparent, open, and honest-- if things go wrong, not point fingers, but to correct them, and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president. And he has said that multiple times.

- --that you, looking back on your comments over the last 10 or 12 months, would like to now, with that sort of license, to amend or clarify?

ANTHONY FAUCI: No, I mean, I always said everything on the-- that's why I got in trouble sometimes.

- You've joked a couple of times today already about the difference in that you feel in being kind of the spokesperson for this issue in this administration versus the previous one. Can you talk a little bit about how free, how much different-- do you feel less constrained? What is-- the-- you know, I mean, you-- for so many times, you stood up behind the podium with Donald Trump standing behind you, that was a different-- that was a different feeling, I'm sure, than it is today. Can you talk a little bit about how you feel kind of released from what you had been doing for the last year?

ANTHONY FAUCI: Yeah, but you said I was joking about it. I was very serious [LAUGHTER] about it. I wasn't joking. No, actually, I mean, obviously, I don't want to be going back, you know, over history. But it was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact.

I can tell you I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president, so it was really something that you didn't feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn't be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence-- what the science is, and know that's it, let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

- You basically vanished for a while for a few months there for a while. You feel like you're back now?

ANTHONY FAUCI: I think so. [LAUGHTER] OK.