Liberal MSNBC analyst John Heilemann on Thursday accused Republicans of wanting Americans to ignore the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci so that the coronavirus pandemic would continue.
During an appearance on “Morning Joe,” Heilemann argued that if people “follow” Fauci, then it was likelier that the virus would “go away,” something he claimed would be bad for Republicans politically.
“You go to the far reaches of Facebook, that’s been a story for a long time, that Fauci’s profiting off the vaccine. All these things that aren’t true,” co-host Willie Geist said, mentioning a conspiracy theory involving Fauci.
“And that moves into the mainstream of conservative media and it becomes gospel that he’s a villain and that somehow he’s asserting his power by trying to get people vaccinated and protect the American public from this disease that’s killed 700,000 people,” he added.
John Heilemann appears on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.
Heilemann chimed in, turning the conversation toward Republicans.
“And it’s because if people follow Fauci, there’s likelier a chance that COVID will go away. And if COVID goes away, it’s bad right now for Republicans. The political math on this is not hard to figure out,” he said without providing specific examples.
Heilemann’s odd accusation elicited sharp criticism on social media from a number of people who disagreed with the notion that Republicans somehow wanted the deadly virus to continue killing Americans.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
“Fauci said on Sunday that we should prepare for the worst. Fauci said on Monday that we shouldn’t panic. We can’t follow Fauci because he is terrible at his job and presenting information and changes his mind daily. He is completely politicized…which is why MSNBC likes him,” Fox News contributor Karol Markowicz wrote.
Another critic pointed out that Fauci specifically said himself in a recent interview that the virus was “not going to go away.”
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.