Dr. Anthony Fauci avoided questions on his emails and growing demands for him to fired as he joined Jill Biden for an interview on Live! with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest.
The pair were instead asked whether they have time for dinner with their families and discussed Jill’s recent birthday trip to Delaware and their childhoods, a day after protesters met them at a vaccine center in Harlem and called for the embattled White House medical adviser to be axed.
And with many of the softballs headed the first lady’s way, Fauci got only a few basic questions about vaccines for children and if the US public need booster shots.
But he wasn’t pressed about his emails that suggest he quashed evidence that COVID leaked from the Wuhan lab and revealed the close relationship he had with Chinese scientists.
‘There was a birthday last week. how did you celebrate?’ host Ryan Seacrest asked. Biden responded with a description of her ‘beautiful birthday’ celebrations with the president at their beach house in Delaware.
At another point, host Ripa noted that she and Dr. Biden were from neighboring towns in Jersey, calling Biden’s hometown of Hammonton the ‘blueberry capital of the world.’
The White House has thrown their support behind Fauci in the aftermath of the release of his emails. President Biden has said has ‘full confidence’ in his adviser and has insisted he won’t be fired under any circumstances.
LOTS OF LAUGHS: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Jill Biden were asked about their childhoods and their evening dining rituals in an appearance on ‘Live! with Kelly and Ryan.’ Fauci was able to avoid questions about an email dump and the origins of the coronavirus
‘Is a good to be back in New York City, or do you find yourself on a friends and family tour?’ Rip asked Fauci
The hosts toggled between calling the pair ‘Jill and Anthony’ and and calling them both doctors – a reference to early online traffic over Biden’s Ph.D in Education.
Ripa asked the Brooklyn-born Fauci about his first trip to New York since the pandemic.
‘Is a good to be back in New York City, or do you find yourself on a friends and family tour?’ she wanted to know.
He described driving into the city after landing at LaGuardia airport and looking at the city where he grew up. Seacrest asked if he put the window down to look around. ‘They don’t let you put the window down,’ Fauci quipped – in a brief reference to his security protection amid threats.
But there were plenty of topics the hosts didn’t broach – including new questions about whether government scientists considered the possibility of a lab leak of the virus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, whether the public was fully informed of the possibility as the idea got officially dismissed, as well as early missteps on masking and other protections.
Fauci has said repeatedly that the most likely origin is a virus that jumped from an animal like a bat to another animal or humans, although President Biden has now ordered an intelligence review.
Demonstrators protest outside Abyssinian Baptist Church on June 6, 2021 in New York City. Abyssinian Baptist Church has been offering COVID-19 vaccines in Harlem, where the infection rate has been higher than the rest of the city but the vaccine rate is roughly only seven percent
Protesters inveighed against covid passports and called Fauci a ‘criminal’
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden (C) and Dr. Anthony Fauci (L), Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with a person getting vaccinated at Abyssinian Baptist Church on June 6, 2021 in New York City
Fauci is currently at the center of storm of questions about the origins of the virus – with former President Donald Trump calling him a ‘promoter’ during a weekend speech in North Carolina, and Republicans in Congress calling for investigations and even demanding his ouster.
He and Biden were greeted by a small group of protesters when they visited a vaccine clinic at Abyssinian Baptist Church on Sunday. Some carried signs saying ‘Fire Fauci’ and blasting vaccines, as the Biden administration pushes to get 70 percent of Americans with at least one shot. One protester held a sign calling him a ‘criminal’ while other held up a mask emblazoned with the word ‘fascism.’ Fauci has repeatedly inveighed against a politicization of mask-wearing.
The interview repeatedly circled back to family matters, with the bulk of the questions going to Biden.
Seacrest asked Biden when she does get alone time with the president, ‘What is it that you guys like to do?’ She said she liked to exercise, and go for walks and bike rides. ‘We always have dinner together,’ she said. ‘Quiet, no phones, the candles are on the table,’ she said.
‘I like a pretty table,’ Dr. Biden said.
Fauci was shielded in part by his seat-mate, who fielded a number of questions on safe topics.
‘What time is dinner and how long does it last?’ Ripa wanted to know.
When it came to Fauci’s eating time of 9pm or 9:30, Ripa found they were simpatico.’Dr. Fauci and I totally could have been married,’ she riffed. ‘The one thing I wanted was to have dinner every night with my children,’ Fauci said.
When matters got around to health care, some of the questions to Fauci pertained to his family pharmacy, where he delivered goods on his Schwinn bike.
‘We love a Schwinn,’ Seacrest told him.
‘I could spend the rest of my life meandering through a pharmacy. I’m not kidding. It is my favorite thing to do,’ joked Ripa.
Ripa later brought up progress in vaccine distribution and declining cases.
‘We’re going to hit 70 percent of the population, the adult population, by the Fourth of July,’ Fauci said, amid a drop in daily vaccine doses. Other questions came on boosters and child vaccinations.