“It’s Benghazi hearings all over again,” Fauci told The Washington Post on March 15 in reference to numerous GOP lawmakers saying they will look into alleged gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, located near where the first COVID-19 cases were officially reported in late 2019.
Fauci, an unelected federal official who has headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, claimed that potential hearings “will distract me from doing my job, the way it’s doing right now.” Should there be hearings and an investigation, Fauci said, “there will be nothing there.”
His reference to the Benghazi hearings was an apparent comparison to the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left several Americans dead.
Several prominent House Republicans have gone on the record saying they’ll probe Fauci’s agency and its ties to research in Wuhan.
“And if you’re watching this, Dr. Fauci, look out, because when the Americans give us control in the House of Representatives, God willing, we’re going to get some answers on behalf of the American people,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News last week.
The Texas lawmaker’s comment came just a few days after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told Just the News that the GOP will investigate the NIAID chief over the institute’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether or not tax dollars were used to fund research into “gain-of-function,” a controversial form of research, will be probed as well, Jordan said.
In October 2021, Fauci told ABC News that he stood by a previous assertion during a Senate hearing that neither NIAID nor the National Institutes of Health, which oversees NIAID, funded gain-of-function research in China.
“The framework under which we have guidance about the conduct of research that we fund, the funding at the Wuhan Institute was to be able to determine what is out there in the environment, in bat viruses in China,” Fauci said. “And the research was very strictly under what we call a framework of oversight of the type of research. And under those conditions which we have explained very, very clearly, does not constitute research of gain of function of concern.”
Historically, the party of the president tends to lose seats in the House or Senate during the midterm elections. Public statements made by prominent democrats, including Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Democrats’ midterm election apparatus, appear to suggest that Democrats are trying to realign their messaging ahead of the November elections.
“The problem is not the voters. … The problem is us,” Maloney reportedly told fellow Democrats at a conference over the weekend. “They think that we’re divisive and too focused on cultural issues. They think that we’re preachy. They think that we act like we know better than parents when it comes to their kids in schools.”