Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, is calling for the firing of a prominent host on Fox News following comments the host made suggesting activists ambush Fauci and go for a rhetorical “kill shot” to his credibility.
At an event for the conservative grassroots organization Turning Point USA this week, Jesse Watters, a longtime Fox News personality and current co-host of “The Five,” said critics of Fauci should approach him in public and go for “the kill shot” by pressing him about his the veracity of the statements and guidance he has given on coronavirus during the pandemic.
“This is where you say Dr. Fauci you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that sprung this pandemic on the world. You know what people don’t trust you, don’t you?” Watters said while speaking on stage at the event. “Boom. He is dead! His dead. He’s done. You do that 30 seconds, it’s all you need.”
Watters told the activists to “be respectful” and identify themselves before ambushing Fauci but also urged them to record the confrontation and send it to Fox News and other leading players in the conservative media ecosystem.
“Get us that! That’s what we want,” he said. “That changes the whole conversation of the country.”
The incendiary, dangerous, violent rhetoric against Dr. Fauci continues at AmericaFest. Fox News host Jesse Watters tells them how to go after him to harass him in public: “Now you go in with the kill shot – deadly. Because, with an ambush, he doesn’t see it coming.” pic.twitter.com/V34YZwDdPD
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 20, 2021
Watters’s comments, which were captured on video, were widely panned on social media by critics who saw them as a potential incitement of violence.
“Kill shot”. “Ambush”. “Deadly”. “He’s dead.” No acknowledgment of the danger those words hold. https://t.co/1Rhabf0wfn
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 21, 2021
Jesse Watters should be fired and he should be held accountable for his horrific comments.
But based on history, he will get a promotion, date Hope Hicks, and win the CPAC fuckface of the year award.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) December 21, 2021
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) December 21, 2021
Fauci, while appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday morning, called the host’s comments “horrible.”
“That just is such a reflection of the craziness that goes on in society,” Fauci said. “And he’s gonna go, very likely, unaccountable … I mean whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything. I mean that’s crazy, the guy should be fired on the spot.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Fox News said Watters’ words had been “twisted completely out of context” by his critics.
“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr. Fauci about gain-of-function research,” the network said.
Fauci has emerged as a lighting rod for criticism among conservatives since the beginning of the pandemic, some of whom who have questioned his credibility and accused him of partisan slant toward Democrats.
“So it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science,” Fauci said of his conservative critics earlier this year. “That’s dangerous. To me, that’s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me. I’m not going to be around here forever, but science is going to be here forever. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave. And that’s what I worry about.”
Story cited here.