Takedown of Fauci comes in the wake of an investigation that highlights instances of cruelty towards animals in federally-funded research
In a series of photos on his Instagram stories, the former US president’s son advertised merchandise that accuses the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), of lying and killing puppies.
One of the posts on his Instagram stories advertised T-shirts and hoodies with captions such as: “Fauci lied, puppies died” and “Fauci kills puppies”. The story also contained a link to his website, where the merchandise is being sold for $27.99 (£20.34).
Mr Trump also shared a photo where Dr Fauci’s face had been superimposed on a poster of Cruella de Vil from the movie 101 Dalmatians. The photo replaced the Dalmatians with Beagles and said: “Dr Anthony Fauci, 101 Beagles”.
In another story, Mr Trump referred to Dr Fauci as a “clown” who “no one listens to anyway.”
These posts came just two days after Mr Trump advertised merchandise mocking actor Alec Baldwin, who fired a prop gun, accidentally shooting a cinematographer to death on the sets of his movie in New Mexico on 21 October.
Baldwin discharged the gun, that he believed to be unloaded, at Bonanza Creek Ranch, while filming the Western Rust. Halyna Hutchins, the movie’s director of photography, was fatally injured in the shooting.
Mr Trump’s takedown of Dr Fauci comes in the wake of an investigation led by conservative group White Coat Waste, which highlights instances of cruelty towards animals in federally-funded research.
The investigation by the group, which calls for a ban on all animal testing, cited public documents as well as those obtained through Freedom of Information Act queries, and revealed that the US government funded a series of tests on beagle puppies over the course of several years.
The investigation said that in some cases, these puppies were sedated, had their vocal cords removed, and their heads were put inside cages to be bitten by parasite-carrying sand flies.
In a lengthy statement to The Independent, the NIAID said that the images of sedated puppies in cages were not from research linked to the agency. It added that the investigation had “mistakenly cited support from NIAID” when it was first published in July.
On Monday, a group of bipartisan lawmakers wrote a letter to Dr Fauci and the agency seeking answers on canine testing and research funding.
Dr Fauci has also been at the centre of a conspiracy theory that he had conducted research aimed at scaring monkeys. The National Institute of Mental Health clarified on Wednesday that they were behind the research and neither Dr Fauci nor the NIAID were involved.
Right-wingers have jumped onto these issues to attack Dr Fauci, who has irked conservatives in the last year-and-a-half over his mask mandates during the pandemic and by advocating for vaccines.