Anthony Fauci’s embarrassing face-plant on Opening Day at Nationals Park was not because he threw a crazy sidewinder rainbow that looked more like a bad throw toward first base than a ceremonial first pitch towards home plate.
To be sure, that was embarrassing.
His weak performance on the mound gave a bad name to bespectacled nerds everywhere. Maybe it was his facemask cutting off the oxygen required for elite athleticism.
Nor was it because cameras later caught the government’s top disease expert using his facemask as a chin-bikini, rather than the proper virus-guard he endlessly harangues U.S. citizens over.
Of course, that was humiliating as well.
But that was not his terrible mistake. Dr. Fauci’s great sin on Opening Day was his suffocating, intolerable arrogance.
The guy actually even had a decent excuse when asked the next day why he had shirked his mask after lecturing the world for months about the need to wear the very same such masks.
He was sitting between his wife and a friend when he slipped his mask down over his chin so that he could drink water. “Trying to hydrate myself,” he allowed, nerdly.
Anyway, he added, he had tested negative for the Chinese plague just the day before.
In other words, he was not a danger to his wife or his friend, so the mask only served to protect him from them. It was a risk, apparently, he was willing to take.
But this is where the titanic arrogance of Anthony Fauci comes in and exposes him for the dangerous, power-drunk bureaucrat he has become in this global pandemic.
First of all, he can be as selfless and gallant as he wants in his own mind, but when he is on government dime during the worst pandemic in 100 years, he’d better take every precaution in his own book not to become a carrier of the Wuhan. Dr. Fauci can take whatever risks he wishes, but if he is going to be spending time around President Trump and the White House team combatting this global menace, then he needs to think of more than just himself.
Then there is the stunning arrogance of being somehow surprised that he was spied on camera flouting his own rules about wearing masks. Seriously?
And, worst of all, Dr. Fauci’s olympic arrogance upon being questioned later about getting caught without his mask. It should have been a moment for humility and apology. Instead, he delivered only scorn and indifference.
“So, I guess people want to make it a big event,” Dr. Faucisneered.
“I wear a mask all the time when I’m outside,” he said, disdain etched upon his face. “To pull it down to take some sips of water and put it back up again — I guess if people want to make something about that, they can.”
At this, Dr. Fauci could barely contain his contempt at being asked a simple question. It was all so beneath him.
“To me, I just think that’s mischievous,” he spat.
It was a great reminder of the grievous price we citizens pay — America’s Faucian Bargain — when unelected federal bureaucrats are taken seriously. And then, in a squirming effort to be liked, he tells us how much he loves baseball.
Okay, Dr. Fauci, so you love baseball. Great. You know who else loves baseball?
Millions of Americans. Millions of Americans who go to baseball games every year. Americans who have never missed an Opening Day in their adult lives. Americans who have slavishly obeyed every single one of your rules about combatting this invisible enemy that we don’t really understand.
Americans who did not wear masks when you told them masks were useless. Americans who then started wearing masks when you changed your mind and started telling them it was the only way to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
These people have obeyed all your rules. They listened to loved ones die over the phone — if they were lucky. They have stayed home. Washed their hands raw. They have wept.
Oh, and Opening Day of baseball — one of the most cherished days of any year? Don’t even think about it.
But there you were, in a vast, empty stadium that seats 40,000 fans, sitting all alone with your wife and a friend. Smiling. Laughing. Enjoying a gorgeous day at the ballpark.
And — as if you wanted to flip us all off — you chucked the mask so we could all see your beaming smile, the kind of carefree smile you only get under the gorgeous sun on Opening Day at your favorite ballpark.
• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org @charleshurt on Twitter.