Did Biden REALLY call Fauci president? Internet says 'don't think he was joking'
Joe Biden's gaffes are known to enrage the Republican party and his critics, but now it appears even his jokes have become a source of fury. On December 2, the president jokingly called Dr Anthony Fauci the president, leading to a deluge of trolling and angry responses on social media, led by Republicans land Rand Paul. President Biden was at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland to speak about the US' response to the Omicron variant when he made the joke.
It's not the first time the president's attempt at humor has drawn criticism. Back in April 2021, he asked "What do you think, deer are wearing kevlar vests?" when addressing gun control in a speech to Congress. But by and large, the president has found himself in hot water nearly every week, as his gaffes and slip-ups draw widespread attention. In fact, it's gotten so bad that the White House decided to cancel a press conference with the leaders of Canada and Mexico back in mid-November.
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But as the president, Biden is expected to be out in public and regularly interacting with the media and Americans. So that's what he did on December 2, as fears of the Omicron variant gripped the US after cases were discovered in several states. Amidst his announcements of increased jabs, return of mask mandates, and stricter restrictions for international travel, the president found time to quip about the severity of the situation.
'I've seen more Dr Fauci than I have my wife'
During a speech at the NIH, Biden told those gathered, "I’ve seen more of Dr. Fauci than I have my wife. We kid each other. But — hey look, who’s president? Fauci." The quip reportedly drew some nervous laughter from the room. Unbothered, the president rolled on with his "winter plan" to tackle the Omicron variant. That included international passengers to test negative within a day of their flight, and urging people to get vaccinated.
"As I explained on Monday, this new variant is cause for concern but not panic," he added. Biden went on to say, "We don’t yet believe that additional measures will be needed. But so that we’re prepared if needed, my team is already working with officials at Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for other vaccines or boosters." But rather than focus on the announcements he made, the Republicans seemed quite focused on the Fauci quip, which you can see below.
.@JoeBiden: "Who's President? Fauci. All kidding aside, I sincerely mean it." pic.twitter.com/iiFUkkKJbT— MRCTV (@mrctv) December 2, 2021
Fauci has become a target for many Republicans like Sen Ted Cruz, so naturally, when Biden mentioned him on stage they got outraged pretty quickly. "Dr. Fauci as president: That’s not a joke, that’s a nightmare to so many Americans. I mean, when did Dr. Fauci ever put his name on a ballot and run for office and get elected by we, the people? But yet, he has complete authority," Rep Jim Jordan told Fox News.
'Yeah we know you aren’t the president'
Jordan wasn't the only GOPer to be outraged though. Sen. Paul Rand tweeted, "Freudian slip? Perhaps, but individual liberty remains at risk as long as Fauci is anywhere near the reins of power." Journalist Jordan Schachtel said, "Anthony Fauci has been president since March of 2020, and humanity has paid an incredible cost." Sen. Marsha Blackburn responded, "You can’t make this stuff up. Good question, Mr. President. Who is in charge — you or Fauci?"
Freudian slip? Perhaps, but individual liberty remains at risk as long as Fauci is anywhere near the reins of power.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 2, 2021
Biden jokes Fauci is real president as he shares COVID plan https://t.co/bQY5FOW8kG
Anthony Fauci has been president since March of 2020, and humanity has paid an incredible cost. https://t.co/DOdchd2JdM— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) December 3, 2021
You can’t make this stuff up.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) December 2, 2021
Good question, Mr. President. Who is in charge — you or Fauci?
Rep Claudia Tenney tweeted, ""Who's President? Fauci!" Biden accidentally says the quiet part out loud." Plenty of other users were also quick to criticize the joke. "Don’t think was joking and even if he was…It wasn’t funny…," one user replied to the video. Another slammed, "Yeah we know you aren’t the president."
“Who's President? Fauci!”— Claudia Tenney (@claudiatenney) December 2, 2021
Biden accidentally says the quiet part out loud. pic.twitter.com/Kal362UEY7
Don’t think was joking and even if he was…It wasn’t funny…— Ryan McChesney (@RyanMcChesney1) December 2, 2021
Yeah we know you aren’t the president.— NateD (@nated2019) December 2, 2021
Notably, Cruz, one of Fauci's biggest critics hasn't responded to the joke. Fauci hit back at the senator over the thanksgiving weekend, asking, "I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?" in an interview, after Cruz called for him to be prosecuted in a tweet. Meanwhile, it appears as if the Omicron variant is now spreading fast, so everyone is advised to get vaccinated at the earliest. If you have received both doses, you should check if you are eligible for a booster shot.