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Fauci Laughs Off Potential Retirement: ‘I Want To Make Sure We’re Really Out’

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci quickly backpedaled on Sunday after suggesting just last week that he might be thinking about retiring soon.

Fauci, who floated the possibility of retirement during an interview with Brad Mielke on the podcast “Start Here,” said that he intended to stay in his position at least until the “pandemic phase” was over.

“I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase and I think we might be there already, if we can stay in this,” Fauci said, adding, “I can’t stay at this job forever, unless my staff is gonna find me slumped over my desk one day. I’d rather not do that.”

Although he stopped short of announcing an actual plan to retire, Fauci also said that he looked forward to the time when he could spend more time with his wife and the rest of his family.

But on Sunday’s broadcast of “This Week,” Fauci made it clear that he didn’t expect anything to change in the near future.

WATCH:

Noting that the White House had hired Dr. Ashish Jha to replace former COVID Coordinator Jeff Zients, “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked whether it was, as Fauci suggested, time for him to step aside and “get some rest.”

“You’ve said you’re going to stay in this job until we get out of the pandemic phase. You’ve served your country for decades. Are we approaching the point we’re beyond the pandemic phase and you’ll get some rest?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I’m not so sure, George,” Fauci said, laughing. “I want to make sure we’re really out of this before I consider doing anything different. We’re still in this. We have a way to go. We’re clearly going in the right direction. I hope we stay that way.”

Fauci also suggested during that Sunday interview that the world should be prepared for the potential rise of new variants as time went on.

WATCH:

“This virus has fooled us before, and we really must be prepared for the possibility that we might get another variant and we don’t want to be caught flatfooted on that,” Fauci said.

He also hinted at the possibility of new lockdowns in the face of new variants, saying, “If in fact, we do see a turnaround and a resurgence, we have to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the situation is. We can’t just say, ‘We’re done. We’re going to move on.’ We’ve got to be able to be flexible because we’re dealing with a dynamic situation.”

Critics are likely to be disappointed by Fauci’s determination to stay in the game a little longer, some of whom had already voiced support for his possible retirement.

“Finally, something to cheer for,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.

“It’s about time,” Mercedes Schlapp added.

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