White House Blocks Fauci From Testifying to Congressional Panel
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attends a Coronavirus Task Force news conference at the White House. (Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg)

White House Blocks Fauci From Testifying to Congressional Panel

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration has barred Anthony Fauci, the scientist who’s leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, from testifying before a congressional hearing next Wednesday.

Fauci had been sought as a witness for a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee that was looking into the U.S. response to the pandemic, according to Evan Hollander, a committee spokesman.

“We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” Hollander said on Friday afternoon.

The White House later confirmed that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, would not be appearing.

”While the Trump administration continues its whole-of-government response to Covid-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”

Fauci has become familiar to millions of Americans through his appearances at White House briefings of the coronavirus task force. His measured, detailed responses to reporters’ questions have sometimes put him at odds with President Donald Trump, who has been eager to begin easing coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

Trump spoke for 28 hours in 35 briefings between March 16 and April 26, according to a Washington Post analysis. Fauci spoke for just over two hours at 22 of the briefings during that stretch, the analysis found.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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