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Fauci cozies up to his CNN friend Don Lemon at the crowded WHCW’s pre-party

Dr. Anthony Fauci was spotted cozying up to CNN host Don Lennon at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner pre-party after saying he would miss the main event citing an ‘individual assessment of his personal risk.’

Former Donald Trump political advisor Sean Spicer took to Twitter on Sunday to share a snap of Joe Biden’s top medical advisor posing with the broadcaster and his partner, real estate agent Tim Malone.

‘Fauci bailed on attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner because of ‘individual assessment of my personal risk.’ …..so he just went to the [crowded] pre-parties #WHCD,’ Spicer captioned the photo.

The snap was taken at the 27th Annual White House Correspondents’ Weekend Garden Brunch Saturday, which TV and political figures such as CBS News presenter Gayle King, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also attended.

Lemon also shared a selfie featuring Fauci, Malone and himself at the same event on Instagram.

Fauci’s attendance at the indoor-outdoor pre-party took many by surprise after the 81-year-old had informed ABC News, the news organization that invited him to the WHCD, he would not attend the 2,600-people event due to his own assessment of personal risk.

It comes as Fauci, famous for his flip-flops on COVID-19 guidelines, said last week America was ‘out of the pandemic phase’ before backtracking and adding his remarks were misconstrued and ‘we certainly can’t say the pandemic is over.’ 

Lemon also shared a selfie featuring Fauci, Malone and himself at the same event on Instagram

Former Donald Trump political advisor Sean Spicer took to Twitter on Sunday to share a snap of Biden's top medical advisor posing with Lemon and his partner, real estate agent Tim Malone at the 27th Annual White House Correspondents' Weekend Garden Brunch Saturday

Former Donald Trump political advisor Sean Spicer took to Twitter on Sunday to share a snap of Biden’s top medical advisor posing with Lemon and his partner, real estate agent Tim Malone at the 27th Annual White House Correspondents’ Weekend Garden Brunch Saturday

Fauci’s attendance at the Garden Brunch comes after a chaotic week that saw the famed doctor take u-turns on COVID advice and be mocked by a John Hopkins professor for skipping the WHCD due to coronavirus concerns despite being quadruple-vaccinated.

‘Dr. Fauci has been vaccinated four times and he still says he’s not comfortable going to the white house correspondents’ dinner this Saturday night,’ Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Marty Makary told Fox News host.

‘That is the person that is behind all the covid policies in the United States.’ Then, on Tuesday, Fauci told PBS NewsHour that America was ‘out of the pandemic phase.’

‘We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,’ he said.

‘Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.’ 

Fauci later claimed that his remarks had been misconstrued. He clarified that the COVID threat in the U.S. was not as ‘acute and accelerated’ as it was earlier in the pandemic and the nation had reached a new ‘decelerated and controlled’ phase of the pandemic over the past several months.

‘That does not mean we are out of the woods,’ he said Wednesday, adding that the number of COVID positive cases is starting to ‘creep up’ again.

While the US has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases from a highly contagious Omicron subvariant, virus deaths and hospitalizations are near, or at, pandemic lows, with the BA.2 variant proving less severe than earlier virus strains.

Still, confirmed infections have risen to about 44,000 per day, up from 26,000 a month ago. More than 990,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and the country currently has more than 81 million active infections. 

Chris Martin, Lt. General Donna Martin, Anthony Fauci, and Gwen Bingham attend the 27th Annual White House Correspondents' Weekend Garden Brunch on April 30 in Washington, DC

Chris Martin, Lt. General Donna Martin, Anthony Fauci, and Gwen Bingham attend the 27th Annual White House Correspondents’ Weekend Garden Brunch on April 30 in Washington, DC

Fauci and Tammy Haddad

Fauci and Kathy Roth-Douquet

Fauci was photographed maskless at the event next to  media adviser Tammy Haddad (left) and military advocated Kathy Roth-Douquet (right)

It is unclear how many people attended the event, but pictures show most of the attendees maskless. Above, Fauci and his wife, head of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Christine Grady

It is unclear how many people attended the event, but pictures show most of the attendees maskless. Above, Fauci and his wife, head of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Christine Grady 

Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured Tuesday), flip-flopped on his pandemic guidance last week, now alleging the U.S. is not in the clear to return to a state of pre-virus normalcy

Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured Tuesday), flip-flopped on his pandemic guidance last week, now alleging the U.S. is not in the clear to return to a state of pre-virus normalcy

Fauci said Wednesday afternoon 'we certainly can't say the pandemic is over' in America, despite claiming Tuesday night that it was

Fauci said Wednesday afternoon ‘we certainly can’t say the pandemic is over’ in America, despite claiming Tuesday night that it was

America’s top medical advisor cited his concerns over the crowded WHCD as the reason why he would not attend the distinguished dinner this year.  

Fauci attended the April 2 Gridiron Dinner, which turned into a superspreader event, with at least 80 of the approximately 630 attendees testing positive for COVID in its aftermath.  

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, sidelined by the pandemic in the last two years, featured Biden as the first president in six years to accept an invitation. Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive this past week and Dr. Anthony Fauci skipped the dinner for health precautions.

The last WHCA gala before COVID-19 broke out was in 2019. It featured neither the president nor even a comedian as Donald Trump refused to attend while in office.

The premier event for news media in Washington mixed Washington journalists like CNN´s Jake Tapper and MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid with celebrities Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson, Brooke Shields, Caitlyn Jenner, Drew Barrymore and Martha Stewart. 

Among the large swath of government officials and other prominent figures was Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

Biden, 79, decided to pass up the meal as a precaution but turn up later for the program. 

While he planned to be masked when not speaking, a maskless president greeted award winners on the dais and could be seen smiling broadly during the dinner program. 

The White House Correspondents' Association dinner, sidelined by the pandemic in the last two years, featured Biden as the first president in six years to accept an invitation

The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, sidelined by the pandemic in the last two years, featured Biden as the first president in six years to accept an invitation

The White House Correspondents' Association required  same-day antigen testing for its dinner attendees even before the Gridiron outbreak, then added a vaccination requirement

The White House Correspondents’ Association required  same-day antigen testing for its dinner attendees even before the Gridiron outbreak, then added a vaccination requirement

While the US has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases from a highly contagious Omicron subvariant, virus deaths and hospitalizations are near, or at, pandemic lows, with the BA.2 variant proving less severe than earlier virus strains

While the US has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases from a highly contagious Omicron subvariant, virus deaths and hospitalizations are near, or at, pandemic lows, with the BA.2 variant proving less severe than earlier virus strains

Still, confirmed infections have risen to about 44,000 per day, up from 26,000 a month ago

Still, confirmed infections have risen to about 44,000 per day, up from 26,000 a month ago

Host Trevor Noah joked about the dinner being ‘the more distinguished superspreader event.’

‘For real, what are we doing here? Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron dinner? Nothing?’ he said. 

More than 990,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and the country currently has more than 81 million active infections

More than 990,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and the country currently has more than 81 million active infections

 

‘You guys spent the last two years telling everyone the importance of masks  and avoiding large in-door gatherings, then the second someone offers you a free dinner you all turn into Joe Rogan.’ 

In the wake of the recent Gridiron Club press dinner in Washington, dozens of attendees, including members of Congress and of Biden’s Cabinet and journalists, tested positive for COVID-19. 

The White House Correspondents’ Association required same-day antigen testing for its dinner attendees even before the Gridiron outbreak, then added a vaccination requirement.

WHCA president Steven Portnoy, from CBS radio, had said it was time to return to tradition, with an evening honoring pioneering reporters of the past, prize winners from today and paying respect to journalists who died covering the war in Ukraine.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk