At around 7 p.m. last night, Trump Jr. shared a meme about Fauci to his 4.5 million followers on Instagram via a story. “I’m gonna just jump out ahead on this and say I don’t think Fauci killed himself,” read the meme, seen by Newsweek. The words were photoshopped onto a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio drinking a cocktail.
A slew of people accused Trump Jr. of threatening Fauci after his post was screenshotted and shared to Twitter.
“Uh, @FBI seems like Don Jr. is issuing veiled threats,” tweeted Mexican-American physician and biomedical data scientist Jorge A. Caballero.
User @out5p0ken tweeted, “This is literally inciting violence against Dr. Fauci.”
“Do we even have laws anymore? Seriously. It really feels as though we’ve lurched into ANYTHING-F***ING-GOES-BECAUSE-NO-ONE-IS-GOING-TO-F***ING-STOP-US territory, for real,” tweeted actor and producer Cory Reynolds.
“First Flynn and now this. This is a goddamn death threat,” tweeted user @brook_jaymes.
User @Pelgridge tweeted, “Yeah, it’s a threat, but I think an empty one, designed to deflect and intimidate. A threat nonetheless.”
Some users tagged federal law enforcement and Instagram, demanding action be taken against Trump Jr.’s post.
“@FBI @TheJusticeDept must take things like this seriously. Or are they going to sat they didn’t see it coming like they didn’t see January 6th coming? It’s unbelievable and mind boggling how much these domestic terrorists are getting away with and no accountability at all,” tweeted @BlueTsunami20.
User @mollysmcdonough tweeted, “To @instagram @Facebook @TwitterSafety @Twitter. You all need to remove @DonaldJTrumpJr from your platforms. Donald Trump Jr. is inciting violence against Dr. Anthony Fauci on Instagram.”
A trove of Fauci emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request were published this week, prompting Republicans to revive attacks on the government’s top infectious-disease expert over the country’s COVID-19 response.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley called for Fauci’s resignation and a congressional probe. “Given what we know now, I don’t know how anyone can have confidence that he should remain in a position of public trust and authority,” he said.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested that Fauci should be held “accountable for his lies and potential involvement” in any alleged cover-up of the virus’ origins and called for his firing.
One of the biggest revelations from the trove of emails was the suggestion that Fauci could have known that the virus might have originated in a Wuhan lab before he publicly acknowledged the possibility. However, after sifting through the emails, the Associated Press concluded that they showed “no evidence of wrongdoing.”
“It is what it is. I’m a public figure, I’m going to take the arrows and the slings, but they’re just—they’re fabricated, and that’s just what it is,” he said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump representatives and Fauci for comment. This story will be updated with any response.