Fauci says he plans to step down by the end of Biden’s term, won’t retire

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday clarified reports that he plans to retire from his post by the end of President Joe Biden’s term, saying that he doesn’t expect to be head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases by January 2025, but that he hasn’t decided when he will step down.

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“I’m not going to retire,” Fauci said Tuesday while speaking at The Hill’s Future of Health Care Summit 2022. He added, “I may step down from my current position at some time.”

Update 10:50 a.m. EDT July 19: Speaking Tuesday during The Hill’s Future of Health Care Summit 2022, Fauci said that the confusion over his reported retirement stemmed from an interview with a reporter who asked whether he would work with former President Donald Trump if he were to be elected for a second term.

“I said a very innocent but true thing: Whether it’s Donald Trump or Joe Biden’s second term, I don’t intend to be in my current position in January 2025,” Fauci said. “What happens between now and then I have not decided, but the one thing I do know is that I have other things that I want to do in a professional way. ... I don’t want to go beyond January 2025. When I step down from this position, I have not decided that yet.”

Original report: Fauci, who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and currently serves as Biden’s chief medical adviser, told Politico on Monday about his plans to step down. He confirmed the decision to The Washington Post and CNN.

“By the time we get to the end of the Biden administration term, I feel it would be time for me to step down from this position,” he told the Post. He told CNN that he has “said that for a long time.”

“Obviously, you can’t go on forever,” the 81-year-old said, according to CNN. “I do want to do other things in my career, even though I’m at a rather advanced age. I have the energy and the passion to continue to want to pursue other aspects of my professional career and I’m going to do that some time. I’m not exactly sure when, but I don’t see myself being in this job to the point where I can’t do anything else after that.”

Fauci has led research into respiratory infections, malaria, Ebola, Zika and other illnesses. For more than two years, he has served as the face of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, first as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force under President Donald Trump, and then under Biden as a member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team. He has advised seven presidents and was a principal architect of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program has been credited with saving 21 million lives and preventing millions of HIV infections worldwide.

On Monday, Fauci told Politico that he hoped his work to address HIV/AIDS would serve as his legacy.

“I don’t think there is anything else that I, Tony Fauci, can do except leave behind an institution where I have picked the best people in the country, if not the world, who will continue my vision,” he said, according to Politico. “I don’t need to be there for HIV, because we have enough good people that could carry it on.”

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