“Yes, I’m very confident in Dr. Fauci,” Biden told reporters at the Rehoboth Convention Center in Delaware in response to a shouted question.
Biden’s public backing comes as a growing number of Republicans call for Fauci’s resignation, asserting the emails show questionable activity by the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Anthony Fauci’s recently released emails and investigative reporting about #COVID19 origins are shocking. The time has come for Fauci to resign and for a full congressional investigation into the origins of #COVID19 – and into any and all efforts to prevent a full accounting,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement on Friday morning.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) also said he believes Fauci should be terminated.
“Dr. Fauci has been wrong about COVID-19 every step of the way, and he needs to be held accountable. He has no business working on behalf of the American people. Fauci should be fired immediately,” Brooks said in a tweet.
Other Republicans, including House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the top Republican on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, previously called for Fauci to testify before Congress about what he knows regarding American funding for Chinese coronavirus research.
Biden was hit for his support of Fauci. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) accused the White House of “protecting” Fauci while Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) charged, “Fauci lied and the WH continues to cover for him.”
The thousands of emails were published by BuzzFeed News, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act request. They showed Fauci and his team scrambling to respond to allegations that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and escaped via a laboratory leak.
In one case, Fauci sent an email to a deputy director at his agency and urged him to keep his phone on and read an article about the virus origins. “You will have tasks today that must be done,” he wrote.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has not responded to repeated requests for comment. Fauci said during an appearance on NewsNation this week that the emails are prone to being taken out of context.
“The only trouble is they are really ripe to be taken out of context where someone can snip out a sentence in an email without showing the other emails and say, ‘based on an email from Dr. Fauci, he said such-and-such,’ where you don’t really have the full context,” he said.
The released emails can be viewed here.
Biden’s support also came a day after White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to comment on the substance of the messages.
“On Dr. Fauci and his emails, he’s also spoken to this many, many times over the last—over the course of the last few days, and we’ll let him speak for himself. And he’s been an undeniable asset in our country’s pandemic response,” Psaki told reporters in Washington, adding: “It’s obviously not that advantageous for me to relitigate the substance of emails from 17 months ago.”
Biden had not been briefed on the emails, she added.
On Friday, Psaki described Fauci as a “renowned career civil servant” and said that she could not envision a scenario that would prompt the White House to fire him.
Fauci, who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force during the Trump administration, received criticism from Trump this week.