Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that he will “of course” testify before House Republicans next year if asked, but criticized the GOP for running “anti-Fauci” platforms in the recent midterm elections.
The many threats by House Republicans to investigate the Biden administration will have a chance to materialize next year after they narrowly regained a majority in the lower house of Congress.
A large portion of them have targeted the White House’s chief medical adviser and his role in public health policy management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to CBS News’ Face The Nation on Sunday, Fauci did not provide any details about his post-retirement plans, but said he was ready to testify before Congress to defend his record.
He admitted there were “absolutely” legitimate questions about the potential origins of the virus in China, though he blamed the Trump administration’s “accusatory” approach toward Beijing for the lack of answers today.
I’m very much in favor of… of legitimate supervision. Absolutely. I mean, I’ve testified before Congress, given the 38 years I’ve been a director [of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]literally hundreds of times, in many oversight hearings,’ Fauci said confidently.
The veteran virologist has faced a series of attacks over skepticism and lingering anger from the GOP over COVID-19 shutdowns and remote education, among other protective measures.
Leading Republicans have described him as a power-hungry bureaucrat who enjoyed the public prominence he gained during the pandemic. Fauci himself has said that the increased hostility has led to threats against him and his family.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would comply with investigations by House Republicans if he is asked to testify next year.
When asked about the “personal” nature of his future testimony, the doctor blamed Republicans for “clearly politicizing” him before his hearing even begins.
I’m not a politician at all, period. I never have been, and anyone who knows anything about me knows that’s the case,” Fauci said.
“But it is very clear when people run their campaigns with an anti-Fauci element. I mean, that’s ridiculous.
He predicted that the volume of criticism leveled at the GOP would not abate even after he retired in December.
‘He’s going to keep going, probably a lot more geared towards me. I mean, obviously it’s a political issue. I’m not going to get involved,’ Fauci said.
‘I didn’t get involved in politics before. And I am not going to get into politics now, I would be more than happy to explain publicly or not, everything we have done, and I could defend and explain everything we have done from public health. point of view.’
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (left) and Representative Chip Roy of Texas (right) are two of Fauci’s most vocal Republican critics in Congress.
Fauci also said that work was still ongoing to find the origins of COVID-19, the first cases of which were detected in Wuhan, China.
Republicans have been calling on the Biden administration to take a tougher stance against efforts by Beijing to obstruct investigations by the international scientific community.
Fauci said Sunday that the Chinese government’s record of “secretive” behavior around diseases, such as bird flu and other past outbreaks in Asia, has helped fuel suspicions of malign intent.
Despite asking China for more information, Fauci said he personally has not seen anything new about the origins of the pandemic.
But in a jab at the earlier Republican White House, Fauci said the Trump administration was partly to blame for Beijing’s reluctance to cooperate.
Fauci has also attacked Donald Trump’s presidency, claiming that his administration’s “anti-China approach” to investigating the origins of COVID-19 further alienated the Xi Jinping government and reduced the chances for cooperation.
“What happens is if you look at the anti-China approach, which clearly the Trump administration had from the beginning, and the accusatory nature, the Chinese will back off and say, ‘Oh, sorry, we’re not going to talk to you about that.” which is not correct,” he said.
Fauci called for “transparency and collaboration to open things up so we can discuss it in a non-adversarial way.”
He also dismissed lingering theories that the pandemic was created in a Wuhan lab, but insisted on both CBS and NBC News’ Meet The Press that he would keep an “open mind” about even the most unlikely scenarios.
“It was a natural occurrence, but [Chinese officials] They were so secretive about it, that you might want to be suspicious about what they’re hiding,’ the scientist said.
“So at this point, what we would really like to know is all the details of what happened to the original people who got infected. We keep a completely open mind as to what the origin is.
He added: “We have to investigate all the possibilities because this is too important not to do it.”