Republican Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise pressed Dr. Anthony Fauci on his assessment of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci testified Friday — alongside CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and fellow Coronavirus Task Force member Admiral Brett Giroir — before the House’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Scalise used his questions to push back on committee chairman Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn’s claims that the Trump administration had ignored warnings from experts like Fauci. (RELATED: Steve Scalise Leads Charge, Demands Answers From Governors Who Ordered Nursing Homes To Take COVID Patients)
Scalise began with a general question, aimed at Clyburn’s claim that Trump had “sidelined” experts who refused to fall in line with the position taken by the White House on coronavirus.
“Were any of you sidelined from coming here?” Scalise opened the question to the witnesses. “Some people try to use that term. I haven’t heard of anybody sidelined. But if any of you were sidelined, please share it.”
At least one of the doctors gave an audible “no,” and Scalise turned to Fauci. (RELATED: Fauci Dragged For Touting New York’s ‘Correct’ Response To Coronavirus Pandemic)
“Dr. Fauci, let me ask you about some of the decisions that you work with President Trump on, and the whole team did. I know when you go back to the beginning of this the China ban was very heavily discussed. Were you involved in working with President Trump on deciding to ban flights from China?” he asked.
Fauci said that he was, and Scalise asked whether he agreed with that decision and whether he believed that decision had saved lives.
“Yes, I do,” Fauci replied.
Scalise then turned to the expanded travel restrictions that included Europe and the United Kingdom, asking Fauci again whether he had agreed with those decisions and whether he believed that lives had been saved because those decisions were made.
“I was actively involved in that discussion, sir,” Fauci replied, saying that he did agree that the decision had saved lives.
“When you looked at the 15 days to slow the spread, initially it started at 15, were you part of the decision — to implement that decision?” Scalise moved on to his next topic.
“I was very much involved in that,” Fauci confirmed.
“Did that decision save lives?” Scalise asked.
“I believe it did,” Fauci said.
Scalise addressed the extension of that plan, asking, “When President Trump met with you and Dr. Birx to extend that another 30 days, do you agree with that decision that President Trump made to extend that?”
Fauci confirmed, “Yes, I was very much involved and I agree with it.”
“Did that decision save lives, Dr. Fauci?” Scalise asked again, to which Fauci said he believed that it had.
“So I know we’ve heard a lot about disagreements,” Scalise addressed reports that President Donald Trump and Fauci — and other experts — had often been at odds with regard to the nation’s response to the pandemic. “Clearly there are many decisions made, in fact there are many very internationally respected doctors that are involved in each of those decisions, is that correct?”
“Yes,” Fauci said.
“By and large, would you say that you and President Trump been in agreement on most of those decisions?”
“We were in agreement on virtually all of those,” Fauci replied.
“I appreciate that,” Scalise said, turning to the other witnesses for the remainder of his time.