Dr. Anthony Fauci mocked Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio during a Thursday Fox News appearance and denied freezing out former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, a supporter of the theory COVID-19 leaked from a lab.
Redfield testified Wednesday, alleging that he was “sidelined” from internal discussions by Fauci for espousing the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci disputed Redfield’s claim of being sidelined. (RELATED: REPORT: Ex-CNN Boss Told Staff To Ignore Lab Leak Because It Was A ‘Trump Talking Point’)
“He said, in his own mind that he was kept out because he was of the opinion that this might be a lab leak. Half the people on the call were of the opinion that it might be a lab leak. So, his rationale of why he thought he was excluded is an invalid rationale,” Fauci said of Redfield. “So it’s really unfortunate that he made those statements. He’s a good guy.”
Fauci then took aim at Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who referred to claims that Fauci was among those trying to censor discussion of the lab leak theory during a Wednesday hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Jordan appeared to allege that Fauci bought off two one-time supporters of the theory with a $9 million grant.
“So there are nine million reasons why they changed their mind,” Jordan said during the Wednesday hearing.
“I almost have to laugh at that, Neil. That’s totally bizarre. First of all, I wasn’t leaning totally strongly one way or the other. I’ve always kept an open mind. As the data evolved and evolutionary virologists looked at the data, it looked more likely it was a natural occurrence from an animal reservoir,” Fauci said. “I have always kept a completely open mind that it could be one or the other. Quite frankly, the evidence weighs more likely towards one, namely a natural occurrence.”
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic released documents Sunday showing Fauci was among those that authored a paper that dismissed the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab.
“The other absolutely preposterous thing that Jim Jordan said was that we gave the investigators $9 million bribe to change their mind. Is he kidding me?” Fauci asked Fox News host Neil Cavuto later.
Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins, testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis during a March 1 hearing that two scientists who believed that COVID-19 leaked from a lab changed their minds after receiving a $9 million grant.
“They put in a grant about a year and a half before this all happened. The grant was reviewed by a peer review and put before an independent council and approved before the meeting even took place,” Fauci said. “So to assume that they were getting a $9 million grant because of the fact that we tried to get them to change their mind is beyond ludicrous. Beyond ludicrous.”
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