Home » ‘Fauci Kills Puppies’: Inside the Forgotten Fake ‘Beaglegate’ Scandal

‘Fauci Kills Puppies’: Inside the Forgotten Fake ‘Beaglegate’ Scandal

South Dakota governor and Trump VP hopeful Kristi Noem is not the first U.S. political figure to experience a scandal about killing a puppy—Anthony Fauci, of all people, got there before her, if through no fault of his own.

As the former chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden makes clear in his eagerly awaited new memoir, unlike in the now infamous case of Noem, Cricket the wirehaired pointer and a shotgun trip to the gravel pit, there was absolutely no truth to claims made against him.

Nonetheless, “the far right had found a new line of attack against me,” Fauci writes in On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service, which will be published next week. The Daily Beast has obtained a copy.

Fauci rose to global prominence in 2020, thanks to his role in the U.S. response to the COVID pandemic.

As he tried to implement and explain public health mandates while dealing with a volatile and hostile president, Donald Trump, Fauci faced spiraling and alarming death threats and even received an envelope of suspicious white powder that blew up in his face. The mild-mannered, diminutive doctor was given a private security detail.

But in late October 2021, things got even weirder.

In his book, Fauci describes how an animal rights group added to rising animus and vitriol around him by releasing a report alleging he had directed federal funding “to be used for cruel testing on beagle puppies.”

The resultant fuss was short-lived but fierce, resulting in more than 3,500 threatening calls in one 36-hour period and even acquiring a name, Beaglegate, inspired by actual political scandals.

On the page, Fauci describes being called a “demon doctor” on the floor of the U.S. House by Madison Cawthorn, then an attention-seeking pro-Trump Republican representative from North Carolina.

Fauci also describes seeing Donald Trump Jr. “selling T-shirts emblazoned with messages like ‘Fauci Kills Puppies.’”

“You really cannot make this stuff up!” Fauci writes. “Though, of course, they did.”

According to Fauci, the accusations were ludicrous but nonetheless “bothersome” because National Institutes of Health research involving animals was conducted under “strict” guidelines for the care of the animals, and because “I am a passionate animal lover, especially of dogs.”

Fauci’s memoir covers his entire career. It has been an illustrious one. As director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), he served seven presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Biden, under whom he finished his service as chief medical adviser.

Early press attention for the book, for which Fauci was reported to have been paid nearly $5 million, has focused on what the 83-year-old writes about his relationship with Trump throughout the first year of the COVID pandemic.

As The Daily Beast reported exclusively on Friday, Fauci describes how Trump, envious of the scientist’s public profile and popularity, would “announce that he loved me and then scream at me on the phone,” deploying f-bombs in abundance.

“I have a pretty thick skin,” Fauci writes, “but getting yelled at by the president of the United States, no matter how much he tells you that he loves you, is not fun.”

His account of the curious case of the fake puppy killing scandal, however, ends with a description of a whole different sort of call, from a whole different sort of president.

“In the midst of this lunacy,” he writes, “my cell phone rang. It was a familiar and welcome voice on the line: Barack Obama.

“The former president asked how I was holding up under this onslaught of lies. ‘I’m concerned about you, Tony,’ he said.”

According to Fauci, Obama said he as a politician was used to such abuse, but no civilian should have to sit through it.

“The conversation was just what I needed,” Fauci writes, “and I hung up feeling much better.”


June 2024