Fauci: Receiving powder-filled envelope was 'very, very disturbing'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Overnight Defense: White House open to reforming war powers | Army base might house migrant children | Fauci scolds military on vaccine Overnight Health Care: CDC study links masks to fewer COVID-19 deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said he received an envelope of powder from an unknown source at one point during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He made the admission in an interview with The New York Times about his experiences working for former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE.

“One day I got a letter in the mail, I opened it up and a puff of powder came all over my face and my chest. That was very, very disturbing to me and my wife because it was in my office,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the Times. “So I just looked at it all over me and said, ‘What do I do?’ The security detail was there, and they’re very experienced in that. They said, ‘Don’t move, stay in the room.’ And they got the hazmat people. So they came, they sprayed me down and all that.”


Fauci said the substance was tested and determined to be a “benign nothing” but that it was a frightening experience regardless. He added that he was unaware of whether Trump was briefed on the incident and said he did not alert anyone close to Trump.

“Who was I going to tell? What good would it be to tell anyone? Also, it was under FBI investigation, and they don’t like you to talk about it,” Fauci said.

Fauci has become one of the most high-profile government health officials during the coronavirus pandemic, and polls regularly indicate he is the most trusted. But he and his family have also received numerous death threats, which he said last week "infuriated" him.

Fauci also told the newspaper that neither Trump nor the former president's inner circle conceded Fauci had been correct about the coronavirus even after Trump was hospitalized with it. However, he described himself as unconcerned about being fired by Trump, despite him joking at a rally about doing just that.

“I thought he wasn’t going to do it. I think that’s the way he is. People said, ‘Oh, weren’t you horrified that the next day you were going to get a call?’” Fauci said. “I didn’t think at all that he was going to fire me. It was just, you know, Donald Trump being Donald Trump.”

Fauci was frequently sidelined during the Trump administration but ultimately was never dismissed. President Biden made Fauci his chief medical adviser on COVID-19.