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Reporter asks Fauci how ‘free’ it feels to be with Biden administration

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During a Thursday afternoon White House press briefing, one reporter broke away from asking about the current state of the virus and vaccines and instead got rather chummy with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President in President Joe Biden‘s administration, asking him “how free” Fauci feels now that he doesn’t work for former President Donald Trump. Fauci replied, saying it’s “somewhat of a liberating feeling.”

“You joked a couple times today already about the difference […] that you feel in being kind of the spokesperson for this issue in this administration versus the previous one. Can you talk a little bit about how free, how much different, do you feel less constrained?” the reporter asked Fauci, then interrupting himself to find his words.

“For so many times, you stood up behind the podium with Donald Trump standing behind you—that was a different feeling, I’m sure, than it is today,” the reporter continued. “Can you talk a little bit about how you feel kind of released from what you had been doing for the last year?”

“You said that I was joking about it. I was very serious,” Fauci replied, then letting out a laugh and the reporter started laughing too.

After the laughter died down, Fauci said that it “was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that—that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact.”

“I can tell you I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president and so it was really something that you didn’t feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn’t be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence [is], what the science is and know that’s it—let the science speak. It is somewhat a liberating feeling.”

Before the reporter’s time with Fauci ran out, he asked the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases one more question.

“You were basically banished for a few months there for a while. Do you feel like you’re back now?” he asked.

Fauci chuckled and replied: “I think so.” The room then broke out into laughter.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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