White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany pushed back against criticism of the White House’s decision to block Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, from testifying before a House panel about the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The House, however, and specifically Chairwoman Nita Lowey’s committee, did not act in good faith,” McEnany claimed. “Those details were never received, and instead we got a press release. So that’s what we call a publicity stunt.”
“Mark Meadows had three calls with Chairwoman Nita Lowey three nights ago when she called to ask if Dr. Fauci could testify before a subcommittee hearing and chief of staff Mark Meadows has made clear he wants to make the best use he can of the task force members’ time,” McEnany continued. “Lowey was unable to tell the chief of staff what the subject matter was.”
McEnany pointed out that Fauci will testify next week before the Senate, which is Republican-controlled. She said any claims from Democrats that Fauci is being blocked from testifying amount to little more than a “publicity stunt.”
“The notion that he’s being blocked is farcical,” she concluded.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany: "The notion that [Dr. Fauci's] being blocked is just farcical." pic.twitter.com/ZzluUcKoeo
— The Hill (@thehill) May 6, 2020
News that the White House had blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying broke last week.
Dr. Fauci had been requested to appear at a hearing Wednesday morning 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.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.