Barstool’s Dave Portnoy used his interview with Trump to complain about Dr. Anthony Fauci

Portnoy has pushed conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and has been under fire for numerous racist remarks

President Donald Trump sat down yesterday for an interview with Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy. The interview comes after its founder has pushed conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and has been under fire for numerous racist remarks. The site has also pushed the QAnon conspiracy theory in the past.

On Friday afternoon, Portnoy released the interview. As CNN reporter Daniel Dale noted, it was immediately apparent that Portnoy did very little research before sitting down with the president. But the most notable portion was Portnoy pushing Trump to criticize Dr. Anthony Fauci, the long-serving head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Video file

Citation From Barstool founder Dave Portnoy's July 23, 2020, interview with President Donald Trump

DAVE PORTNOY (FOUNDER, BARSTOOL SPORTS): So, we got opening day today.


PORTNOY: So, Fauci’s throwing out the first pitch. You give him any tips, you think he’s going to be — I mean, he seems like a little guy, I’ve never seen him. Do you expect a good pitch here?

TRUMP: Well, they say he was a good basketball player. And he is a very nice man.

PORTNOY: How tall is he?

TRUMP: Not — well, he’s not tall, but he was a fast little guard, and they say —


TRUMP: No, they say he was a good basketball player. And he’s actually a very nice guy. We don’t always agree on everything. You know, he’d like to do things that I don’t like to do. But ultimately, I make the decision, but we make it all a group of people. And he’s been here for, like, 45 years — for many, many years. And he’s a nice man, actually.

PORTNOY: So I started doing — I’m a sports guy. The company that bought us, Penn National, are a gambling company, so sports gambling’s a big part of what we do. I switched to the stock market, actually, day trading. So Fauci’s on my ax list, because every time he talks and says the companies — the country should stay inside, my stocks tank. So I don’t like that aspect of it.

TRUMP: Well, he’d like to see it close up for a couple of years. But that’s OK, because I’m president. So I’ll say, “Well, I appreciate your opinion. Now give me another opinion, somebody please.”

PORTNOY: Overruled, yeah. You overrule him.

TRUMP: Well, you have to. You know, we’re open, and we’re doing well, and I just had a press conference about opening the schools. You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system, even than you have or I have —

PORTNOY: Well that’s not saying much.

TRUMP: The kids — that’s not saying much?

PORTNOY: No, I got a bad —

TRUMP: But they do. It’s amazing, you look at the percentages, it’s a tiny percentage of 1%. And in that one case, I looked at a couple of cases — maybe you have diabetes, maybe you have, you know, problems with something. But the kids are in great shape. So we want to open the schools, and we’re opening the country. And we had great numbers announced the other day. And two weeks ago we had the best, the best, the biggest number of jobs we’ve ever had. And the month before that, we had the same thing. A lot of good things are happening, and I think it looks like a V. We have a lot of people that would like to see their states close — I have a feeling on November 4th, they’ll open them up. I think they want to do it for political reasons. We’re doing well, the polls are starting to really shape up. You know, Dave, we were doing great, we were sailing. George Washington would’ve had a hard time beating us. And then when the China virus came in, all of us said — you know, it’s a dampener —


TRUMP: It really is. It’s a downer.

PORTNOY: Well, Covid’s been a —

TRUMP: Well, it’s a downer, though, you know, psychologically. And it went down, and now we’re — we’re really starting to do well, we’re looking really good in a lot of different places.

Dale also noted Trump’s other outright lies (or possible confusion) from the interview.

Portnoy has made his conspiratorial politics clear regardless of where he appears -- though Trump agreeing to the interview might be related, in part, to Portnoy’s Fox appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he has appeared at least 21 times since the beginning of 2018, per Media Matters internal database. He has also appeared on Fox Business on multiple occasions.

On March 11, days after saying he was willing to inject one of his employees with Ebola to prove that it’s a fraud, Portnoy called himself a coronavirus “truther” and said that concern over the virus is a “fraud, overreaction, or media concoction.” He also compared COVID-19 to the flu. Four months later, more than 140,000 have died from COVID-19.

In May, while livestreaming his attempts to day trade the stock market, Portnoy filmed himself at his home in front of a sign that read “Fuck that midget fuck Anthony Fauchi [sic].” During his meltdown, he called Fauci “one of the great criminals of our civilization.”

Fox's Tucker Carlson would, in June, invite Portnoy on to criticize Fauci’s assessment of the challenges of a potential NFL season.

In late June, Portnoy came under fire for numerous uncovered racist remarks, including repeatedly using racial slurs on Barstool programming and likening Colin Kaepernick -- the former football player who started a peaceful protest for racial justice and against police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem -- to “an ISIS guy.” In another uncovered video, Portnoy likened Kaepernick to Osama bin Laden. In response to the criticism, Portnoy called himself “uncancellable.” One employee has left the site over the controversy, and other employees are having different reactions.

Racist commentary on Barstool isn’t confined to Portnoy, either, though he certainly exemplifies it. For instance:

And there are plenty more examples like that. For example, then-Fox Sports contributor Emily Austen appeared in a Barstool interview and made disparaging comments about “stingy” Jews, commented on another story by saying that she “didn’t even know Mexicans were that smart,” and said, “You guys know the Chinese guy is always the smartest guy in math class.”

Barstool has also given credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory, running a post in 2019 that cited QAnon as a White House insider. The conspiracy theory alleges that an anonymous supposed high-level member of the federal government, “Q,” posts on a white nationalism message board with clues about an alleged Trump master plan to take down “deep state” opponents and pedophilia rings supposedly linked to celebrities and politicians who just happen to criticize Trump’s performance in office.