White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci responded again to proposals from House GOP lawmakers about potential investigations if they retake the lower congressional chamber.
“I have absolutely nothing to hide or nothing to be concerned about, of anything that I’ve done,” Fauci told Fox News on March 25. “So I never have been—and not now and will never be—afraid of hearings done in good faith in oversight. I mean, obviously, if you looked at some of the hearings, they’ve started off out of nowhere to be ad hominem attacks without even asking a reasonable question.”
Some Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), have promised investigations and subpoenas to Fauci’s agency if the GOP wins the House during the 2022 midterms. At least one Republican senator, Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has promised the same if the Senate is retaken by Republicans.
“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,” Roy told Fox News earlier this month.
Primarily, Republicans have flagged emails that suggest the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the agency Fauci has headed since the Reagan administration, have proved funding to third-party organizations to perform controversial “gain-of-function” research into bat coronaviruses in Wuhan, China. COVID-19, which is caused by a coronavirus, reportedly emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.
“My job is what’s important. … So the idea when you’re idolized, or you’re demonized … that’s just a reflection of what’s going on in society and really has very little to do with what I am and who I am and what I do. So you may not believe it or appreciate it, but all of that other stuff is irrelevant. It’s my job and what I do that’s important,” Fauci also said during the Fox News interview.
Earlier in March, Fauci appeared to take a dismissive tone against a possible Republican-led investigation into his agency or emails, saying he believes it would be “Benghazi … all over again,” referring to the Republican House investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following a terrorist attack in Libya that left several Americans dead.
Fauci, meanwhile, has told media outlets and Senate hearings that neither NIAID nor the NIH 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 told ABC News in October 2021.
That research, he added, “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 during the midterm elections. Democrats currently have a very thin majority in the House and a razor-thin 50–50 majority in the Senate.