The right’s Fauci Derangement Syndrome

The despicable, preposterous smears against Dr. Anthony Fauci are just exposing the odious but obvious reality that there is no floor to the the right’s derangement.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, right, joined by President Joe Biden, center, and Vice President Kamala Harris, left, speaks on the omicron variant in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in on Monday.

Oliver Contreras/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM/TNS

Soulless. Morally bankrupt. Insane?

It’s hard to find the right word to describe the latest lows to which right-wing personalities and elected officials are stooping to smear and attack Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and former Trump adviser.

Imagine, if you dare, that you’re Lara Logan, once an actual journalist at CBS News and now a conspiracy-spewing quack at Fox News, and you wake up this morning to a tweet from the official account of the Auschwitz Memorial admonishing you for being, well, a terrible human being:

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“Exploiting the tragedy of people who became victims of criminal pseudo-medical experiments in Auschwitz in a debate about vaccines, pandemic and people who fight for saving human lives is shameful. It is disrespectful to victims & a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”

How on Earth do you show your face after that? How do you sleep at night?

Presumably pretty well, if you’re Logan, some other Fox hosts or GOP lawmakers who seem to have no moral or ethical problem scraping the absolute bottom of a rotten, fermenting, fetid barrel of toxic waste, just to stoke politically profitable fear and division — or, worse, get ratings.

There Logan was Monday night, launching her latest projectile missile of lunacy into the ether, an utterly deranged and debased attack on Fauci:

“This is what people say to me, that he doesn’t represent science to them,” Logan begins. “He represents Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps. And I am talking about people all across the world are saying this.”

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As she went down this jaw-dropping path, Pete Hegseth and Will Cain, two Fox hosts who suggested this weekend that Democrats are inventing new variants like omicron for ... reasons that make little to no sense, sat there blinking in silence as if this were a completely normal thing to say.

Of course, comparing Fauci to Josef Mengele is not a normal thing to say.

In case you need a refresher, Mengele, known as the “Angel of Death,” was the Nazi doctor responsible for sending untold numbers of Jews to the gas chamber at the Auschwitz concentration camp. He also performed sadistic, stomach-churning experiments and torture on living victims, including pregnant women, twins, children and the disabled. He’s known to have performed vivisections, tooth and organ removals without anesthesia, and reportedly sewed two twins together to crudely create conjoined twins.

To compare him to anyone is impossible. To compare him to Fauci is quite literally insane.

The madness doesn’t end there, though. Later that same night, Tucker Carlson reached for an equally deranged comparison on his eponymous show.

He began by deriding Fauci as “a nearly 81-year-old bureaucrat who really shouldn’t be driving a car at this point, but who somehow took control of the most powerful country on Earth and then went promptly insane” — which, ironically, sounds more like a description of the president who dismissed, contracted and helped spread COVID-19 than the doctor who’s consistently fought to contain it.

But then, the kicker: “After two years of nonstop media adulation, Tony Fauci has morphed into an even shorter version of Benito Mussolini,” Carlson offered up. His evidence for this absurd smear? “Watch Fauci on television the other day refer to himself, without even flinching, in the third person.”

Again, that’s pretty rich considering headlines like these:

“The third-person-in-chief: How Trump talks about himself.” “Donald Trump started talking about himself in the third person as his presidency crumbled.” “Trump keeps referring to himself in the third person.”

But do carry on, Tucker. Tell us more about how Fauci is just like the former leader of the National Fascist Party, who imposed the death penalty for political crimes, authorized concentration camps and poison gas in conquest and led a puppet government for the Nazis in Italy.

Also on Monday night — it was truly a banner night for Fox — Sen. Ted Cruz glommed on in his inimitable way, comparing Fauci to Louis XIV, former King of France. He also called Fauci “the most dangerous bureaucrat in the history of the country,” evidently putting him above the government officials who put kids in cages, left thousands of veterans to languish on life-threatening wait-lists, enforced Operation Wetback and oversaw Japanese internment camps. But sure. Fauci’s worse.

Of course, Anthony Fauci isn’t above reproach. As a public health official, he should be held accountable for the things he’s said and done in that capacity. But these despicable, preposterous smears aren’t doing anything of the sort. In fact, they’re just exposing the odious but obvious reality that there is no floor to their derangement, no line they won’t cross to keep their voters and their viewers frothing in anger, no comparison too gross or out of bounds. Even if the Auschwitz Memorial has to condemn it.

S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.

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