Rep. Garamendi: NIH official canceled on five Sunday talk shows after Pence's office 'took over'

Rep. John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiWuhan is the final straw: The world needs to divest from China GOP seizes on 'defund the police' to galvanize base Peace Corps faces uncertain future with no volunteers in field MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was told to "stand down" and not appear on five Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the coronavirus.

Garamendi told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson that Anthony Fauci was scheduled to do all five major Sunday talk shows, but says Fauci canceled the appearances after Vice President Pence took over the administration's response to the disease.

Trump on Wednesday named Pence as the official overseeing the government's response.

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"I can repeat what he said, he said, 'I was not muzzled. However, I was to go on the Sunday talk shows five of them. The vice president’s office then took over the control of this situation, and told me to stand down, not to do those shows,'" Garamendi said, quoting Fauci.

"Now, you can draw your own conclusions whether he was muzzled or not, but clearly he was scheduled to do Sunday talk shows and he was not to proceed with that," the congressman added.

The claim from Garamendi comes amid pointed criticism from top Democrats, including former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE, who urged the Trump administration "to let the experts speak" in an interview with CNN on Friday morning.

 

Director of the National Economic Council Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE told reporters Friday, "No one's being stifled. No one's being told what to say," with Kudlow adding it was more about coordinating the message.