Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, testified Friday before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, wrapping up a week of high-profile hearings on Capitol Hill.
The big news from Friday’s hearing was that Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” the United States could have a vaccine ready by the “end of this year and as we go into 2021.”
If you were going to take one thing away from Friday’s testimony, that probably should have been it. It’s tremendous news and, if his timeline is accurate, it’s a testimony to human ingenuity and resilience.
However, that doesn’t mean you should bury the other stuff — particularly the inconvenient fact that Fauci agrees the Trump administration’s COVID-19 policy decisions saved lives and that he was actively involved with many of the more controversial ones.
During questioning by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, Fauci praised the administration’s moves to largely ban travel from China and Europe — both of which were widely questioned by both Democrats and the media at the time.
And, as it turns out, he was involved in the decision-making behind both travel bans.
“Do you think that decision saved lives, Dr. Fauci?” Scalise asked about the China travel ban.
“Yes, I do,” Fauci responded.
The head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the same thing about the European travel ban.
When it came to extending the guidelines another 30 days? “Yes, I was very much involved, and I agree with it,” Fauci said.
“So, I know we’ve heard a lot about disagreements,” Scalise said. “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 responded.
“By and large, would you say that you and President Trump have been in agreement on most of those decisions?” Scalise asked.
“We were in agreement on virtually all of those,” Fauci said.
The Trump team made sure this clip got amplified: