Administration

Trump won’t allow Fauci to testify before House because it’s ‘a bunch of Trump haters’

President Trump on Tuesday said Anthony Fauci will be allowed to testify before the Senate next week, but that he would prevent the government’s top infectious diseases expert from appearing before the House because he believes it’s full of “Trump haters.”

“The House is a set up. The House is a bunch of Trump haters,” the president told reporters as he departed the White House to visit a Honeywell factory in Arizona.

“But Dr. Fauci will be testifying in front of the Senate, and he looks forward to doing that,” Trump added. “But the House I will tell you, the House, they should be ashamed of themselves. And, frankly, the Democrats should be ashamed, because they don’t want us to succeed. They want us to fail so they can win an election.”

The president also complained about a House oversight committee set up to review the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that some of his staunchest critics were included on the panel. He singled out Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

The Trump administration on Monday issued new guidelines barring coronavirus task force members from accepting invitations to appear before congressional panels this month unless White House chief of staff Mark Meadows grants permission. 

In releasing the policy, top administration officials argued the coronavirus task force and the primary agencies responding to the pandemic need to focus their attention and resources on response efforts, and that having them testify could use up critical hours.

“We’re telling agencies that during this unprecedented time our resources need to be dedicated toward the coronavirus. At this stage we really need everybody manning their stations and prioritizing coronavirus response work,” a senior administration official told The Hill.

The president’s comments Tuesday, however, signaled a willingness to allow top officials to appear before the GOP-controlled Senate, which the administration may perceive as friendlier territory than the Democratic-controlled House.

Fauci is slated to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for a coronavirus-related hearing on May 12. But the administration rejected a request from a House subcommittee examining the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. 

The new guidance comes as the Senate comes back into session and the House grapples with how to best bring members back to Washington safely amid the pandemic.

There are more than 1.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 69,000 people have died in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning.

Fauci, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has earned a reputation during the pandemic for walking the line between correcting Trump’s misstatements about the virus without outright criticizing the president.

While Trump has been exceedingly positive about the federal response, Fauci has acknowledged the administration’s difficulties ramping up testing and the virus’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.

Fauci spent hours at coronavirus press briefings throughout March and April standing on the sidelines while Trump fielded questions from reporters. Fauci told The Associated Press in an interview last month that he found the briefings “draining,” and that they would have been more useful had he been able to answer a few questions then leave.

–This report was updated at 11:29 a.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci Carolyn Maloney Coronavirus Donald Trump Mark Meadows Maxine Waters

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