Joan Baez discusses her 'mutual fanship' with Fauci
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• Joan Baez says she has a texting buddy people may not expect: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciDemocrats question GOP shift on vaccines GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel MORE.

The “Diamonds & Rust” singer recently opened up about her surprising connection with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director at a press event for the Kennedy Center Honors. Baez is one of five Honors recipients being recognized by the Washington performing arts institution in a ceremony airing June 6 on CBS. The others are Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, violinist Midori and choreographer Debbie Allen.

An artist, Baez says she got to know Fauci after painting a portrait of him, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert.

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“He saw it through a friend of mine and we talked on the phone,” said Baez.

“It was a mutual fanship. I wanted to tell him how great everything he was doing was, and he wanted to tell me about the ’60s and the ’70s, etc.”

Saying the two, both 80, text “periodically,” Baez revealed, “A lot of it’s been kind of silly, and a lot of it’s been not.”

Baez extended an invite to her lab coat-wearing friend to last week’s filming of the Honors ceremony, which is typically held in December but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I just texted and said, ‘Would you like to come to a black-tie event and the Honors?’ And he responded and he said, ‘I’d love, to but there’s one little glitch.’ ”

Baez called up the famed doctor and cracked, “Tony, you’re not going to tell me the sexiest man in the world doesn’t have a tuxedo, are you?”

“He said, ‘I have a tuxedo,’ ” Baez recalled with a smile.

Deborah Rutter, the Kennedy Center’s president, said that in point of fact, Fauci had a few questions for organizers of the awards gala. “He wanted to know what the safety protocols were,” Rutter said.