Fauci facing GOP calls for resignation amid Wuhan lab controversy
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 3 weeks ago • 7 comments
By: Mark Moore (New York Post)
Republican lawmakers are calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be fired, amid his litany of shifting opinions on the coronavirus, its origin and his stance on an investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci is coming under fire from congressional Republicans who point to his admission that the NIH earmarked $600,000 for the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the possibility that bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans.
He told members of a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that the money was provided to the lab through the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance and funded a "modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus."
But Fauci emphatically denied that the money went toward so-called "gain of function" research, which he described as "taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans."
Anthony Fauci listens during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the press briefing room of the White House.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Fauci clashed with Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month when the Kentucky Republican pushed him on whether the federal agency he heads helped fund "gain of function" research at the Wuhan lab.
"Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely and completely incorrect … the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute," Fauci said during the May 11 hearing on Capitol Hill.
Paul began to say: "Government scientists like yourself who favor gain function,'' but Fauci interrupted, "I don't favor gain-of-function research in China.
You are saying things that are not correct," Fauci said.
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) introduced the Fauci Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal Act around the same time, saying in a statement, "Dr. Fauci represents everything that President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address: the scientific-technical elite steering the country toward their own ends."
"Under Dr. Fauci's guidance, Americans have lost confidence in the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, leading to confusion and serious government overreach that has threatened Americans' livelihoods and freedoms," Davidson said in the statement.
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) said this month that he discovered that the Obama administration funneled $1.1 million to the Wuhan lab through the EcoHealth Alliance, also calling for the top scientist's dismissal.
Reschenthaler also said he's bothered by Fauci's mixed messaging on mask-wearing and his dubious reports on pandemic safety precautions and believes the doctor should step down.
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said he has been bothered by Fauci's mixed messages on mask-wearing protocol during COVID-19.J. Scott Applewhite/AP
"He has been wrong, intentionally deceptive, and inconsistent throughout this entire pandemic. A few examples of Fauci's failures include: claiming there was very little risk to Americans in January of 2020, opposing President Trump's China travel ban then crediting it with saving lives, and wrongly predicting an explosion of cases in Texas after Gov. Abbott lifted the state mask mandates," Reschenthaler told Fox News on Tuesday.
"It is long past time for Dr. Fauci to stop talking to the American public. Fauci should resign or be fired immediately."
On Monday, a CBS News reporter tweeted that Fauci told her that his belief about the natural origin of COVID hasn't changed but that he supports a conclusive investigation.
"He believes that it is 'highly likely' that it first occurred naturally before spreading from animal to human. Since no one is 100% sure, he's open to a thorough investigation," Weijia Jiang wrote on her Twitter account.
Security personnel keep watch outside the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization on Feb. 3, 2021.Thomas Peter/REUTERS
Fauci, a top adviser to President Biden on the coronavirus, speaking at a Poynter event over the weekend, was asked if he was confident that the coronavirus developed naturally.
"No, actually. I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the interviewer at "United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking."
"Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that's the reason why I said I'm perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus," he continued.
This is a change of tune from May 2020, when Fauci dismissed the theory that the coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab.
"If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated," Fauci told National Geographic in an interview at the time.
He added that he doesn't believe "an alternate theory — that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped."
"Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species," the doctor said.
Chinese state media is reacting to Fauci's pivot, saying he is now responsible for "rumors and slander" against the Chinese Communist government.
"Fauci attempted to hype the old and groundless narrative that the virus was leaked from a lab in Wuhan," editor-in-chief Hu Xijian wrote in the Global Times on Tuesday.
"Fauci says ambiguously, but he knows he is fanning a huge lie against China. Rumors and slander against China can be seen everywhere in the US media, and politicians lie about China without any bottom line," Hu continued in the opinion piece.
The piece also noted the timing of Fauci's comments and a report by the Wall Street Journal that three workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms "consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness."
The first reports of an outbreak of coronavirus came from Wuhan in December 2019.
"This is a blatant lie, a conspiracy created by US intelligence agencies and the media outlet to slander China, and China has denied it. Is it a coincidence that Fauci repeated such lines?" Hu's piece said.
Chinese state media slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci over his comments backing an investigation into whether the coronavirus virus came from the Wuhan lab.