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Dr. Anthony Fauci did a facepalm during Trump’s coronavirus briefing



  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been one of the most public facing health officials in the federal government when it comes to the coronavirus response.
  • Normally stoic and even-keeled, Dr. Fauci briefly broke his poker face during Friday’s press briefing.
  • When President Donald Trump was on a tangent and joking about the State Department — calling it “The Deep State Department,” alluding to an unsubstantiated conspiracy against him by civil servants — Fauci covered his face.
  • The moment did not go unnoticed on social media, with clips being shared on Twitter almost immediately afterwards.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been a stoic and even-keeled public facing official in the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but one quip from President Donald Trump during a Friday press conference broke his poker face. 

Fauci, 79, has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and has become a household name since COVID-19 began dominating the news cycle as it continues to spread worldwide. 

The infectious disease expert took questions at a few points during the briefing and remained steadfast by President Trump’s side, except for when the president went on a tangent about the State Department. 

When Trump referred to it as “The Deep State Department,” Fauci glanced to his right and appeared to chuckle to himself before covering his face with his palm. 

Shortly afterwards, Twitter began lighting up with users weighing in on the “Fauci Facepalm.”

Many shared the image or video by saying some variation of “Dr. Fauci is all of us right now,” with the moment caught on camera becoming its own meme. 

Others mocked Fauci for touching his face, with one of the earliest CDC guidances advising Americans to avoid doing so because of how COVID-19 spreads on commonly touched surfaces. 


Some seemed to think Fauci was in on Trump’s joke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was facing questions from reporters during the press conference on his reported penchant to lash out at journalists. 

Earlier in the press conference, Fauci was undercut by Trump on whether an unapproved treatment for the coronavirus is safe

The doctor has been a staple of most televised federal responses to the outbreak, and has often found himself having to toe the line between getting accurate information out to the public and not undermining the president, whose message has often differed from that of public health experts.

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