Joe Biden says he’s ‘very confident’ in Dr. Anthony Fauci, despite email backlash
President Joe Biden is not bothered by Republican critics of Dr. Anthony Fauci who have called for the firing of the nation’s most prominent COVID-19 adviser after a source of his emails made headlines this week.
“I have great confidence in Dr. Fauci,” Biden told reporters Friday – his first public defense of Fauci, who has come under renewed criticism in the past week for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and its origins.
Republican lawmakers have combed through thousands of Fauci’s emails – first obtained by BuzzFeed and The Washington Post via Freedom of Information Act requests – looking for missteps or inconsistencies by the COVID-19 White House adviser during the early months of the pandemic. In addition to his key role in combating the coronavirus in the Donald Trump and Biden administrations, Fauci was director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly four decades.
During the height of the pandemic, polls consistently showed that the public viewed Fauci favorably and trusted his leadership. He was also praised by many celebrities and made the rounds on late-night talk shows and other popular programs.
COVID-19 has killed nearly 600,000 people in the United States, but cases and deaths are declining as more people are vaccinated.
The emails show that Fauci advised in February that store-bought masks were ineffective at stopping the coronavirus – a position that was in agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the time before it was later reversed. Many conservatives have opposed the mask requirement, which was implemented after the CDC update. The emails also show that Fauci was informed that the virus could have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, before publicly acknowledging that possibility.
After the emails were released, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who has become a lightning rod for controversy in the House of Representatives, introduced legislation to effectively fire Fauci by reducing his salary to zero dollars. The proposal, which currently has six cosponsors, is unlikely to gain a hearing in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who is the ranking member on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn,. This is a brief summary.