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Fauci responds to 'mischievous' critics of photo at Nats game

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciBiden says staff has spoken with Fauci: 'He's been very, very helpful' Jake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election 24 percent of New Yorkers unlikely to get COVID-19 vaccine: poll MORE, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, responded to criticism stemming from a photo of him with his mask pulled down during a Washington Nationals baseball game, calling the attacks “mischievous.”

“I think this is sort of mischievous with this thing going around,” Fauci said on Fox News Friday. “I had my mask around my chin, I had taken it down, I was totally dehydrated and I was drinking water, trying to rehydrate myself." 

"And by the way, I was literally negative for COVID the day before," he added.

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On Thursday Fauci threw out the first pitch for opening day of Major League Baseball's abbreviated season. Conservatives, who have become more critical of him in recent months, first mocked him for missing the pitch, and then for appearing in an image with his mask pulled down.

In the photo Fauci is seen sitting next to his wife and a man he said is his close friend. 

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Fauci was at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) made mask-wearing in all public settings mandatory as of this week. Her order has few exceptions, among them is while eating or drinking.

Her order came days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance urging universal mask-wearing.

“I wear a mask all of the time when I’m outside,” Fauci said. “To pull it down to take some sips of water and to put it back up again, I guess if people want to make something about that they can. But to me I think that’s just mischievous.”