The White House will not allow the leading immunologist on the coronavirus task force to testify to Congress next week, calling the request “counter-productive” to the administration’s efforts to contain the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s testimony had been requested by the House Appropriations Committee, as part of an investigation into the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A committee spokesman on Friday said the White House had blocked the doctor from appearing before the panel.
“The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement.
Fauci has become one of the most well recognized experts in the administration’s coronavirus response team, often speaking publicly during task force briefings, and at times, seeming to contradict statements made by President Trump.
“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. We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.