A public relations staffer for the agency run by Dr. Anthony Fauci announced his “intention to retire” Monday, the department said, after the Daily Beast reported that he was the author of numerous articles trashing Fauci and dismissing the coronavirus pandemic as a “massive fraud.”
The man, William B. Crews, a public affairs specialist for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, was identified by the Daily Beast as moonlighting as managing editor of the conservative website RedState, where he wrote articles under the pseudonym “streiff.” The articles are filled with misinformation, directly contradicting the agency’s recommendations about the virus and calling Fauci a “mask nazi,” among other insults.
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A spokeswoman for NIAID, Kathy Stover, said in a statement that the agency “first learned of this matter this morning, and Mr. Crews has informed us of his intention to retire. We have no further comments on this as it is a personnel matter.”
An email to “streiff” for comment was not immediately returned.
According to his LinkedIn account, Crews has worked for NIAID since 2007. The Daily Beast said his posts have become more and more conspiratorial as the pandemic, which has killed over 200,000 people in the U.S., has dragged on.
“When Covid-19 Kills 18,000 People Call Me, But Until Then Stop the Scaremongering,” read the headline of one March RedState article.
In another RedState post cited by the Daily Beast, he wrote in June, “I think we’re at the point where it is safe to say that the entire Wuhan virus scare was nothing more or less than a massive fraud perpetrated upon the American people by ‘experts’ who were determined to fundamentally change the way the country lives and is organized and governed.”
Last week, the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, announced that he was taking a medical leave shortly after he promoted dangerous conspiracy theories in a Facebook Live video.
Caputo charged that scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “don’t want America to get well” and were plotting “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump.” He urged Trump supporters to load up on ammunition in preparation for a violent left-wing rebellion if the president wins re-election.
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Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.
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