Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has helped shepherd Americans through the pandemic amid heavy fire from critics, plans to retire as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases by the end of President Joe Biden’s term.
“I am not going to be on this job forever, but I can tell you that I will almost certainly step down before the next term, in other words by the end of Joe Biden’s first term, which is January 2025,” he told the New York Times after a Politico story published on Monday detailed his retirement plans. “I never, ever planned to go beyond Joe Biden’s first term—even if he gets a second term I don’t plan on being there for that.”
While Fauci, who is 81, has been a government scientist for 50 years serving under seven presidents, he became a lightning rod for Republicans’ ire after COVID-19 swept across the country in the spring of 2020.
Back in September 2021, he said he was working on a memoir and would need to leave his post before he could enter a contract with the publisher. He said he would publish the book as soon as he retired, the New York Times reported.
“I’m not completely crazy to think that I’m going to be doing this when I’m 92,” he said. “But right now, when you’re caught up in this incredible, intense activity, you don’t really think about retiring. You think about ending this pandemic, you know, putting it in the rearview mirror, and then maybe taking a deep breath and thinking about retiring.”
As recently as January, Fauci had said he wouldn’t let Republicans force him out before he was ready. In May, he called reports that he would retire rumors, the Times reported.
Whether Fauci will leave before January 2023, when it’s possible Republicans may control one or both houses of Congress after the midterm elections, is the bigger question, the Times said.
Republicans have accused Fauci of misleading the public about the virus, its origins and its severity. Fauci has said they may investigate him whether he’s still working or not.
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