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Dr. Anthony Fauci’s plea to “wear a mask” has topped a list of most notable quotes from 2020.
The recurring request by the nation’s top infectious disease expert was one of four coronavirus-related quotes to make the top 10 of the annual list compiled by Yale Law School librarian Fred Shapiro, which started in 2006.
George Floyd’s heartbreaking cry of “I can’t breathe” during his fatal arrest in May was elected the second most notable quote, having become a rallying cry for protesters across the US.
President Trump, meanwhile, had two quotes in the top 5 — his suggestion that the coronavirus could be defeated by injecting disinfectant, which he later insisted was sarcasm, as well as his claim in February that “like a miracle” the pandemic would just “disappear.”
President-elect Joe Biden also had two quotes in the top 10 — including calling a woman “a lying dog-faced pony soldier.”
He also made the list with his May claim to black voters that “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had a pair of placements, including her promise at her first press briefing in May that “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.”
Her July claim that “the science should not stand in the way” of school openings came in at number 8.
The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s posthumously released statement that her “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed” also made the top 10, as did Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers for saying “we are all Lakers today” after the January helicopter-crash death of Kobe Bryant.
Shapiro said he picks quotes that are not necessarily admirable or eloquent but rather because they are famous or particularly revealing of the spirit of the times.
- “Wear a mask.” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, CNN interview, May 21.
- “I can’t breathe.” — George Floyd, plea to police officer, Minneapolis, May 25.
- “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear,” President Donald Trump, referring to the coronavirus in remarks at an African American History Month reception at the White House, Feb. 27.
- “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” — Trump, in remarks at a White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing, April 23.
- “I will never lie to you. You have my word on that.” — White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, at her first press briefing, May 1.
- “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, statement dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera, September.
- “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” — Joe Biden, in an interview with “The Breakfast Club” radio program, May 22.
- “The science should not stand in the way of this.” — McEnany, referring to school reopenings in a news briefing, July 16.
- “You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” — Biden, in a remark to student at campaign event, Hampton, N.H., Feb. 9.
- “We are all Lakers today.” — Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, in a remark to reporters after the death of Kobe Bryant, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 26.
With Post wires