The White House has blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and perhaps the most recognizable face on the coronavirus task force, from testifying at a House hearing next week.
Dr. Fauci had been requested to appear at a Wednesday morning hearing on how the government has handled the pandemic by the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement that the panel was “informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed the news, saying that “it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings.” Deere added that the White House is “committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”
The move has received harsh criticism from analysts and many in Washington.
— Frank Figliuzzi (@FrankFigliuzzi1) May 1, 2020
Now Trump wants to impose a gag order to stop Fauci from testifying to Congress. His excuse? That it would be “counterproductive." Translation: he doesn't want the public to hear the full truth, like “don’t inject disinfectants” or “we need more rapid testing." Free Fauci! https://t.co/NYBqE592LT
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 1, 2020
This is why the McGahn decision will be so important. Congress is going to need subpoenas to get information about the Administration’s response on Coronavirus. If the courts won’t enforce those subpoenas, we’ll never get real answers.https://t.co/v8eneKePPF
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) May 1, 2020
The House committee will hear next week from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Representatives Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who both chair the subcommittee, said in a statement that “Congress and the American public deserve a clear-eyed view of the path forward for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.