Pelosi: Trump blocking House testimony is 'beneath the dignity' of presidency

Pelosi: Trump blocking House testimony is 'beneath the dignity' of presidency
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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE for saying that he won't allow Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration 'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says Sunday shows - Boosters in the spotlight MORE to testify before the House because he thinks the lower chamber is "a bunch of Trump haters," saying that it is "beneath the dignity of the office that he holds."

A House Appropriations subcommittee had sought Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to testify at a Wednesday hearing, but the request was denied by the White House.

"To say that the Congress, the House, is a bunch of haters is so beneath the dignity of the office that he holds and so distant from the seriousness he should bring to a matter of life and death of so many people in our country," Pelosi said during an interview with MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

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But Pelosi indicated that the House wouldn't necessarily try to issue a subpoena to obtain Fauci's testimony.

"I would hope that Dr. Fauci would say things in public that we wouldn't need him to be subpoenaed," Pelosi said.

"I feel sad for him and anybody who has to stand in that task force and practically validate what's coming out of the president's mouth except for an occasional clarification," she added.

While Fauci did not testify at Wednesday's House hearing, he is scheduled to appear next week before the GOP-controlled Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Brett Giroir, who is overseeing coronavirus testing efforts, are also slated to testify at the Senate hearing.

The White House initially issued a memo on Monday stating that members of the coronavirus task force should not accept invitations to participate in congressional hearings this month unless White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsGraham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan MORE made an exception. The memo said that agencies would have to decline invitations to accommodate demands on officials' time "to remain focused on implementing of COVID-19 response."

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But Trump said Tuesday that he didn't want Fauci to testify before the House because it's controlled by Democrats.

“The House is a set up. The House is a bunch of Trump haters,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.

“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 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday instead featured testimony from former CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Caitlin Rivers, an expert from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

But House Democrats do expect to hold a hearing next week on the whistleblower complaint filed by Rick Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who alleged that he was demoted after declining to promote the use of drugs touted by Trump to treat COVID-19 patients because they lacked scientific merit.

Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooTime for Congress to make a down payment to prevent future pandemic tragedies Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition Eshoo urges Pelosi to amend infrastructure bill's 'problematic' crypto regulation language MORE (D-Calif.), the chair of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, said she is hoping to secure testimony from Bright directly as well as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec.

Pelosi also said during the MSNBC interview that Trump should wear a facial covering in public to set an example for Americans to follow the guidelines issued by his administration after the president visited a mask-making facility on Tuesday without wearing a mask himself.

"You'd think as the president of the United States, you would have the confidence to honor the guidance that you are giving others in the country," Pelosi said.