Following Dr. Anthony Fauci announcing his resignation, Republicans have vowed Congressional investigations into his conduct if they win majority in the House and Senate in November, with many being critical of his leadership decisions and lack of transparency through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci announced on Monday he will resign from his post as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in December, after more than 50 years working in government.
“He better have plenty of time on his hands come January, because we’re going to be wanting to talk to him,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) during an Aug. 22 interview with Steve Lance on NTD, a sister media outlet of Epoch Times.
Carter said that, should Republicans gain majority control of the oversight and investigation committees after the upcoming midterm elections, the GOP would make it a priority to investigate whether Fauci mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic or willfully mislead the public about the virus.
Fauci’s tenure, Carter said, had been marred by inconsistency and flip-flopping on vital issues, such as the origins of the virus.
In May 2020, Fauci said that the virus “could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.”
However, Fauci has since said that he is “open” to the idea that the virus originated in a laboratory following a concession by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) last year that it provided funding to third-party groups to perform gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses at laboratory in Wuhan, China.
“We need to make sure that we’re not doing this again and, if indeed this did come from a leak in the Wuhan lab, then China needs to be held responsible,” Carter said. “There’s no question about that.
“This is good news for America, because we need to take the politics out of healthcare. [Fauci] has inserted politics into healthcare, and I think that’s going to be his legacy.”
Key Issues Unanswered
Fauci’s handling of the pandemic has undergone a number of contentious episodes.
Among the key issues are the contents of Fauci’s emails from June 2021 released under the Freedom of Information Act, and several emails showing that Fauci held a secret meeting with scientists who were collaborating on the “natural origin” theory that the virus evolved in the wild.
At the same time as that meeting, Fauci was exchanging messages with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on how pandemic-related information on social media should be handled.
Fauci was served with a discovery request this July stemming from a lawsuit that accuses government officials of working with Twitter and other major social media networks to suppress truthful information on multiple topics in violation of the First Amendment.
“I think Dr. Fauci like all of us, sees the writing on the wall,” Rick Mehta, a professor of health law at Georgetown University, told Steve Lance.
“He’s going to have to answer some very tough questions. Some questions that have gone unanswered since the start of COVID: ‘gain of function’ research, funding to the Chinese Communist Party at the Wuhan lab, how the virus came about, the failed response to COVID lockdowns, [and] American lives lost to a crushed economy.”
Mehta, much like Carter, sees a silver lining in Fauci’s resignation, namely, the opportunity to restore trust in America’s crumbling institutions.
“Starting to rebuild the integrity of our public health system starts with Dr. Fauci retiring,” Mehta said. “And I think many of us in the public health and medical community are happy that there’s going to be a turning over a new leaf.”
“The first step is that anyone who comes into his place and takes control in terms of leadership with any public health agency has to respect the laws of our land, they have to respect constitutional rights, and they cannot use public health as a pretext to pause individual rights and constitutional liberties afforded to all Americans.”
Though political opponents and skeptics may be celebrating the resignation, Fauci has been quick to point out that, though he is 81, he has no intention to fully retire.
“I’m not going to retire,” Fauci told The Hill. “I may step down from my current position at some time.”
When Fauci leaves his government role in December, he will receive an annual, tax-paid pension of $414,667.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include the date of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s announcement.