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Fauci says that he and his family have experienced 'serious threats' during pandemic

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the US Overnight Health Care: Biden unveils COVID-19 relief plan | Post-holiday surge hits new deadly records | Senate report faults 'broken' system for insulin price hikes Should there be a 'Secretary of Thought'? MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Thursday that he has received “serious threats” to himself and his family since he became one of the public faces of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The doctor said that the anger has appeared on a different level than when he began his work during the HIV/AIDS crisis.

“I’ve seen a side of society that I guess is understandable but it’s a little bit disturbing. Back in the days of HIV when I was being criticized with some hate mail, it was, you know, people calling me a gay-lover and 'what the hell are you wasting a lot of time on that' ... things that you would just push aside as stupid people saying stupid things,” Fauci told CNN's David AxelrodDavid AxelrodBiden leans on foreign policy establishment to build team Biden rolls out national security team What a Biden administration should look like MORE on his “The Axe Files” podcast.

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In 2020, Fauci said, “It’s really a magnitude different,” because “as much as people inappropriately, I think, make me somewhat of a hero … there are people who get really angry at thinking I’m interfering with their life because I’m pushing a public health agenda.”

This, he said, has led to both hate mail and “serious threats against me, against my family … my daughters, my wife — I mean, really? Is this the United States of America?”

Fauci added that he had been assigned security due to some of these threats.

Axelrod also noted reports that several House Republicans had called for Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history GOP in bind over Trump as corporate donations freeze MORE’s (R-Wyo.) removal as head of the House Republican Caucus for defending Fauci’s performance during the pandemic.

“Isn’t that weird, David? I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Fauci responded. “I guess it’s just a reflection of the divisiveness in our society at the political level.”

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“I can understand very well that you have to be careful because of the negative consequences of things like shutting down … but the hostility against public health issues is difficult not only to understand, but difficult to even process,” he added.

Fauci's comments come after President TrumpDonald TrumpFacebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots Sasse, in fiery op-ed, says QAnon is destroying GOP Section 230 worked after the insurrection, but not before: How to regulate social media MORE recently characterized the doctor as "a little bit of an alarmist." Fauci refuted the characterization, saying that he was a realist.

Trump maintains that his relationship with the doctor, however, remains "very good."