Coronavirus: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Tue Jan 9 22:40:57 PST 2024


Trump Allies Demand Accountability From Fauci, Not The Former President

Authored by Philip Wegmann via RealClear Wire,

House Republicans were eager to cross-examine Dr. Anthony Fauci, the
former chief White House medical adviser, about his response to the
COVID-19 pandemic. They remained silent, however, about Donald Trump,
the former president who stood by the architect of the lockdown

“It is time for Dr. Fauci to confront the facts and address the
numerous controversies that have arisen during and after the
pandemic,” said Ohio Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who chairs the
select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic that will grill the
doctor behind closed doors.

Nine Republicans sit on the subcommittee. All of them love to loathe
Fauci. Four of them have already endorsed Trump as he seeks the
presidency a third time, including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor
Greene, who has said publicly that the doctor “should be in jail.”

Fauci was the face of the White House COVID task force, prescribing
masking and school closures and lockdown measures during the pandemic,
often as Trump stood at his side. The relationship was fraught. Trump
frequently contradicted the doctor he deputized, occasionally even
grousing about him publicly on Twitter. But in the end, Trump still
awarded Fauci a presidential commendation for his work.

The focus on the decisions Fauci made, and not on the president who
empowered him, has exasperated Trump rivals like Florida Gov. Ron
DeSantis. “Are we going to have some type of accountability?” DeSantis
asked during a recent interview with RealClearPolitics. “Are we going
to have a reckoning for this, or are we just going to act like
everyone did such a great job?”

Reps. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, John Joyce of Pennsylvania, and Ronny
Jackson of Texas will also get a chance to cross-examine Fauci. Each
has criticized the doctor. All of them still endorsed the former
president who presided during his tenure. None returned RCP’s request
for comment.

“He will, once again, put America and Americans first,” Lesko said in
a statement two days after Christmas to announce her endorsement of
the Republican president who oversaw Fauci as he prescribed lockdowns
and mask mandates from the White House podium.

Ahead of Fauci’s testimony Monday, the Arizona Republican retweeted a
post from the subcommittee calling for “serious answers” from the
now-retired doctor. “It’s time,” she wrote.

At issue is whether in 2020 Trump delegated far too much authority to
Fauci, who pushed hard for extensive pandemic lockdowns. “For an
executive widely known for being able to fire people,” wrote Dr. Scott
Atlas, who joined the White House COVID task force that summer, “it
was shocking that this president allowed the incompetence of the
nation’s Task Force advisors to continue.”

Trump has given different accounts for why he deferred to Fauci’s
judgment. During remarks last summer, the former president insisted
that he once listened to Fauci, but “whatever he said, I did the

When conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt later asked why he never
removed Fauci, Trump replied that he was “not allowed to fire him” and
claimed that Fauci “wasn’t a big player in my administration.”

Pressed by Megyn Kelly on why he awarded Fauci a presidential
commendation, Trump pled ignorance, saying during a September
interview on Sirius XM, “I don’t know who gave him the commendation. I
really don’t know who gave him the commendation. Someone probably
handed him a commendation.”

Multiple former Trump officials found that answer far-fetched and said
publicly that any type of commendation would require a signature from
the president. Regarding the suggestion that Fauci be fired, however,
several former officials told RCP that is easier said than done. They
note that the other members of the COVID task force had a “resignation
pact”: If one person was fired, all would resign.

Atlas was the single dissenting voice from that group. A
neuro-radiologist and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover
Institution, he publicly railed against lockdowns and called for a
different strategy that was eventually adopted in large part in

DeSantis rose to national prominence largely because of how he handled
the pandemic in that state, and the governor regularly rails against
“Faucism” on the campaign trail. Nonetheless, he’s lagging behind
Trump by double digits in each of the early primary states, according
to the RealClearPolitics Average.

“The 21st century. The three biggest events: 9/11 and the wars that
followed, the Great Recession, and then COVID,” DeSantis told RCP. The
virus, he continued, “had a broader impact than the other two events
combined. And yet, here we are. We’re not even discussing that.”

Polling suggests that the Republican electorate is more concerned with
current issues, such as inflation, than a pandemic that began nearly
four years ago. Trump’s compounding legal trouble and his vow to
deliver “retribution” upon his enemies also seem to overshadow any
questions of accountability concerning his handling of the pandemic.

The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment about Fauci’s
testimony. A spokesman for the campaign previously told RCP, however,
that anyone criticizing Trump’s handling of COVID “couldn’t manage a
Little League baseball team let alone manage a global pandemic crisis
caused by China.”

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