The far-right youth organization Turning Point USA held its AmericaFest conference this week, featuring right-wing darlings like Kyle Rittenhouse and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Also among the speakers was conservative Fox News pundit Jesse Watters, who used disturbing rhetoric regarding Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, whose expertise amid the COVID-19 pandemic has enraged conservatives for the past two years.
Watters encouraged spectators to confront Dr. Fauci about theories that he authorized funding of gain-of-function research at a Wuhan virology lab that's been at the center of unverified claims it was the source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fox host compared the confrontation to a "kill shot" he urged the audience to take:
"Now you go in for the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush. Deadly. Because he doesn't see it coming. This is when you say, 'Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that sprung this pandemic on the world. You know why people don't trust you, don't you?' Boom! He is dead. He is dead. ... You get that footage to us, get it to Fox ... Get us that. That's what we want. That changes the whole conversation of the country."
Never mind that Fauci has already repeatedly addressed these allegations under oath in congressional hearings.
Watters' unhinged violent rhetoric prompted widespread outcry, and even got a response from Fauci himself.
"What kind of craziness is there in society these days? That's awful that he said that. And he's gonna go, very likely, unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, that's crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot."
Social media users agreed.
Others said Watters should face worse consequences.