Tensions Rise Between Fauci, GOP Over Covid-19 Pandemic Response

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Anthony Fauci’s clash with Republican senators this week was the latest sign of discord between the GOP and Biden’s top medical adviser.

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Public polling shows that most Republicans and some independent voters are Dr. Fauci, as the administration tries to explain the risks of the Omicron version. Some Republicans say Dr. Fauci is not open to criticism, and has claimed he lied about the work of the National Institutes of Health on medical research in China to genetically alter organisms. Dr. Fauci has denied that he lied and said Republicans are targeting him for his support of science.

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On Tuesday, Mr Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Fauci told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that Mr Paul was making false personal attacks on him for political reasons. “In general, I think you’re distorting everything about me,” Dr. Fauci said. “You keep coming back at me with personal attacks that have nothing to do with reality.”

He said his family and children were being threatened and tortured by the senator’s comments. Dr. Fauci received an armed security statement last year following online threats. Administration officials said that they were Dr. We are surprised by the level of vitriol directed at Fauci, which ranges from anti-Fauci T-shirts for sale online to people comparing people to Nazis.

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In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Paul accused Dr. Fauci of avoiding questions “by fomenting the idea that his opponents are the cause of danger.”

Mr. Paul, an ophthalmologist by training, who has repeatedly called for the dismissal of Dr. Fauci, accused Dr. Fauci of ignoring alternative perspectives in the scientific community and imposing his point of view on the country.

Referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Fauci said, “Everything I’ve said is in support of the CDC guidelines: wear a mask, promote, get vaccinated.”

After months of criticism from Republicans, Dr. Fauci has increasingly fought back, fueled by Joe Biden administration officials who are taking a more confrontational approach in response to false information about the pandemic that believes millions of Americans did not get vaccinated. Is.

At Tuesday’s hearing, a microphone picked up “What a Moran” and “Jesus Christ” as Dr. Fauci murmured after a heated conversation with Mr. Marshall, about whether Dr. Fauci files annual financial disclosure forms and how readily they are available. Huh. Dr. Fauci files annual disclosure reports, which the public can request from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fauci declined to comment for this article.

Dr. Fauci is one of only three American political leaders who were viewed positively by a majority of Americans in a December Gallup poll. He ranked below Chief Justice John Roberts and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell with a 52% approval rating – well above Mr Biden and congressional leaders on both sides.

But Republicans and Democrats viewed Dr. Fauci differently. Seventy-five percent of Democrats viewed him positively, compared to only 19% of Republicans. According to the poll, Dr. Fauci had a 48% approval rating among independents. Since August, he is getting the support of independent candidates.

“If I’m a senator from a Republican state like Rand Paul, it’s not a popular person. It’s no problem to be aggressive, it absolutely can’t hurt him,” said an emeritus professor of health policy and politics at Harvard University. Robert Blendon said.

The broader issue, Mr. Blendon said, “we have politicized it between parties and we have never politicized pandemics or natural disasters. In polio, there was no Democratic or Republican approach.”

An administration official said that Dr. Fauci’s office is often bombarded with interview requests and that he plans to appear in the media occasionally, rarely turning down requests. In an effort to reach audiences with differing perspectives, he has appeared on short podcasts, radio and cable television, including Fox News.

Republicans have condemned the Biden administration’s response to COVID-19 amid an explosion of cases due to the Omicron version.

Republican Reps. Steve Scalis of Louisiana and James Comer of Kentucky on Monday called on House Democrats to hold a hearing on “their administration’s failure to stave off the coronavirus,” according to a letter to South Carolina’s Democratic Select subcommittee chairman James Clyburn. and Carolyn Maloney of New York, chair of the oversight committee.

The rapid rise in infections has prompted more Americans in political polls to say they are unhappy with the administration’s response effort. According to the CDC, the seven-day average of Covid-19 cases in the US rose to about 751,000 by January 10, up from nearly 80,000 by November 29.

The administration is working vigorously in the defense of Dr. Fauci. In an unusual move, Health and Human Services spokesman Ian Sams told Dr. issued a statement defending Fauci and accusing Republicans of spreading misinformation.

“At a time when the United States is witnessing rising cases of COVID-19, it is disappointing and clearly unacceptable that Republican senators have clashed with the nation’s leading public health experts to spread conspiracy theories and discuss Dr. Fauci, instead of lying about how we protect people from COVID. -19,” said Mr. Sam.

Some administration officials said they were disappointed by the GOP’s rhetoric that they say is distorted or inaccurate.

Meanwhile, Republicans and some outside coronavirus researchers have said they are more concerned because they think the administration is thwarting its pandemic response. Some have said the White House should have done more to ensure an adequate supply of COVID-19 rapid tests, for example, and have described new CDC guidance on quarantines as confusing to the public.

Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) said at the hearing, “This administration has repeatedly squandered its opportunities and things to do with the decisions you make on testing and treatment, and most importantly in communicating with the American people.” has ruined it.” Tuesday.

Controversy since the start of the pandemic has led Dr. Fauci was left behind when his clout and right-wing conspiracy theories accused him of being part of a deep state conspiracy to undermine then-President Donald Trump’s re-election effort. Democrats largely adopted Dr. Fauci as a truth teller.

While the White House COVID-19 briefings are seen by several top administration leaders, including CDC Director Rochelle Valensky, Dr. Fauci appears frequently in public on news shows and other venues for the administration.

White House officials said they see Dr. Fauci as an asset that can clearly explain complex issues to the public. According to an administration official, Dr. Fauci and Mr. Biden have developed a close relationship and talk to each other almost daily.

But Dr. Fauci has occasionally made public statements that contradict the policy positions of the Biden administration. Last month, Dr. Fauci suggested that the US should consider requiring vaccination against COVID-19 for domestic air travel, comments he later went back on.

Write Stephanie Armour at [email protected] and Andrew Restuccia at [email protected]


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