Lawmakers and other prominent figures tore into Dr. Anthony Fauci after the Energy Department concluded COVID-19 likely leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China — a theory the former White House chief medical adviser repeatedly rejected.
The Energy Department’s “low confidence” assessment, included in a recent classified intelligence report sent to the White House and top members of Congress, turned the focus back on Fauci — who retired at the end of last year after more than five decades in government, the last 38 as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci, 82, had come under fire from congressional Republicans for defending gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, from where COVID-19 is believed to have emerged. The doctor threw cold water on the theory in the months after the outbreak, at one point calling it a “shiny object” in an internal email.
In July of last year, Fauci hedged slightly by saying that he was keeping an “open mind” about the lab leak possibility, only to later insist “it looks very much like this was a natural occurrence.”
Since reclaiming the House last month, GOP lawmakers have called for an investigation into both the origins of COVID-19 and the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has repeatedly accused Fauci of lying to Congress about the origin of the coronavirus, retweeted a reporter who wrote: “@RandPaul asked Fauci about a lab leak. He denied it. Repeatedly” Sunday.
Paul’s wife, Kelley, recalled one of Fauci’s rebukes to her husband from May 2021 when she tweeted: “‘Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect. The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.’
“Fauci lied,” Kelley Paul wrote. “He knew NIH and NIAID money was sent to Wuhan via intermediary EcoHealth Alliance.”
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, said Monday he looked forward to interrogating the Brooklyn native about the government’s response to the pandemic.
“Dr. Fauci sought the limelight on the backs of the American people, their businesses, education, & quality of life,” he tweeted. “From magazine covers, Sunday shows, & elitist receptions, he ignored the science to clench power & clout. I have many questions, & I look forward to asking them.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends First” Monday to discuss the probe led by his caucus.
“It’s been lie after lie, misinformation after misinformation. And it’s about time we crack this egg open and really find what’s actually going on,” Van Drew said.
“What’s most hurtful, not only did the Chinese — and we know the real truth — poison the world and the United States. I mean, let’s just tell the truth. Hopefully it was an accident. But not only did they do this, but they lied about it,” he added.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) took to Twitter Monday morning to shade Fauci, saying: “Remember when I asked Dr. Fauci how he knew that China didn’t lie to him and use American money for gain-of-function research in Wuhan? Fauci told me, ‘you never know.’ Maybe we’re getting closer to knowing.”
“For years, Anthony Fauci and Biden officials called this a conspiracy,” tweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who later added: “Anthony Fauci lied, and millions of people died.”
The official House Republican Twitter account posted a picture of Fauci Sunday accompanied by the words: “Accountability is coming.”
“Fauci and the rest of the COVID criminal cartel didn’t ‘get everything wrong,’” tweeted former Trump administration official Monica Crowley. “They knew the truth and lied, destroying countless lives & the health of the nation. On purpose. Instead of being vilified and prosecuted, they were celebrated. There must be justice.”
Author and controversial Canadian psychologist Jordon Peterson used the news to share a 2012 journal article authored by Fauci that warned of the “remote” possibility of a pandemic triggered by an outbreak tied to gain-of-function research.
“Is anything at all beyond the bounds of belief now? Anything? This is a journal article from none other than Anthony Fauci in 2012. Every day I read something new that I just can’t process,” Peterson wrote.
Fauci has said he would welcome a GOP House investigation into his handling of the pandemic, and said accusations that he lied or abused his power during the crisis were politicized amplifications of misinformation.
Leave a Reply