“I’m just sick of seeing him! I know he says he’s going to retire. Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac,” DeSantis, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, said to cheers during a campaign stop on his “Keep Florida Free Tour.”
Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, announced Monday he was stepping down from all current posts “to pursue the next chapter of my career.”
The 81-year-old became a top target for right-wing hate over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, following attacks from former President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders.
Earlier this month, for example, a Maryland man was sentenced to three years in prison after he sent emails threatening to harm or kill Fauci, his family members and other health officials.
One of the emails threatened that Fauci and his family would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.” Another read: “Hope you get a bullet in your compromised satanic elf skull today.”
DeSantis has long harnessed hate toward Fauci to fundraise and fire up his base. In mid-2021, as COVID-19 cases soared in his state, he was selling “Don’t Fauci my Florida” can coolers and T-shirts.