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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci was blasted by conservatives on social media after joking that he created the coronavirus in his kitchen.
“At the epicenter of the initial outbreak, WA1 – Washington 1 is considered the ancestral model strain,” Dr. Larry Corey said to Fauci during a discussion at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center campus in Seattle, Washington, where Fauci was receiving an award on Tuesday.
“No, I developed the ancestral model strain,” Fauci jokingly responded. “I created it.”
“That’s right, you let it loose,” Corey responded while laughing.
“I was in my kitchen, and I…” Fauci said, pretending that he dropped an imaginary object to the floor.
“Gain-of-function, there we go,” Corey said before joking about Fauci making Italian meatballs in his kitchen at the time he created the virus.
Many members of the audience laughed along with the two doctors but reactions from conservatives on social media were not as lighthearted.
“Despicable: He mocks and trolls while being the single person arguably most responsible for promoting policies that have damaged millions of lives and helped perhaps irrevocably cripple our republican system,” author and journalist Benjamin Weingarten tweeted.
“Fauci makes a joke about creating SARS-CoV-2,” Tyler Carditis, CEO of Blaze Media, posted. “See, it’s funny because we all know that’s impossible. He’s not that smart. But he’s arrogant & naive enough to approve & fund the research & scientists that likely did & slimy enough to try to cover it all up.”
“Extremely poor taste joke from Tyrant Fauci,” Young Americans For Liberty tweeted. “Not only is he a terrible doctor, he’s tone deaf!”
Fauci has become a popular target of conservatives during the coronavirus era over a variety of issues including his support for strict coronavirus restrictions and controversy regarding “gain-of-function” research funding from his National Institutes of Health that went to a lab in Wuhan, China, where many believe the coronavirus originated.
Fauci has insisted that he believes that the virus originated in nature while many across the country, including prominent Republican politicians, have leaned toward the theory that the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said last month that his party will force Fauci to testify under oath about the origins of the virus and any potential cover-up if Republicans take control of Congress in the fall.
Fauci’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.