Dr. Anthony Fauci went on Morning Joe on Thursday as part of a media tour to tamp down some of the damage done when his private emails were made public via a FOIA request on Wednesday. This was Fauci's second MSNBC hit in 24 hours.
"Why is this so hard?" MSNBC's Willie Geist asked Fauci. "Why is it so hard to find the source of this outbreak that's killed more than 3 million people around the world, 600,000 in the United States, has upended our lives and our economy. Is it because China is so opaque? Is it because WHO is not sharing information? Why is this so difficult?"
"Y'know, Willie," Fauci replied, "there are several reasons why it's so difficult. One is that we need better access to all the information. I mean it's obviously in China's interest to find out exactly what it is.
"And the 'is' of the natural theory would be to find that link, so you have to keep looking for it. I mean obviously you want openness, and cooperation. One of the ways you can get it is don't be accusatory.
"Try to get both a forensic, a scientific, and an investigational approach. I think the accusatory part of it is only going to get them to pull back even more. We've got to do it in a combination of diplomacy, scientific, forensic investigation and do it in a way that the people of good faith, not who want to do blame, but people in good faith are really trying to find out what the origin is.
"And we're seeing a lot of, y'know, I don't even want to describe it, a lot of pointing of fingers, and things like that. Keep an open mind and go after the truth," Fauci said.
Geist asked a followup, "You say it's in China's interest, would you agree though, Dr. Fauci, that it's in their interest to hide it—if there was a lab leak, or worse, if they designing something in their lab—so the world, that America didn't know, that it came out of their own lab, wouldn't they want to conceal that?"
"Y'know, Willie, I don't want to be speculating on that, because every time I say something like that, you know, as well as I, it will get completely taken out of context and go into the Twitter world like crazy. So I'm going to leave that to other people and not surmise and guess whose interest it is. It's not helpful. Because everything you say gets completely taken out of context."
The massive cache of emails that emerged from a FOIA request on Wednesday revealed Fauci's views on masks, school closures, and the origins of the coronavirus he was tasked with managing.
Fauci said early on in these emails that face masks are not helpful, received information that there was reason to believe the virus was engineered, and advocated early for school closures despite evidence showing that kids were not at high risk of contracting or spreading the illness.
The emails resulted in many, including Senator Rand Paul, to call for Fauci's firing. Paul had grilled Fauci in the Senate on multiple occasions, trying to get to the bottom of the origins of the virus as well as the guidance that came from the CDC.
NIH director Francis Collins went on cable news as well to try to explain why he felt that the theory that the virus emerged from a lab was a conspiracy, though that theory has now made a full recovery and is believed by many to be likely. Tucker Carlson slammed Fauci for lying under oath.