White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday expressed his frustration over vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, following his tense exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) last week.
Last week, Jordan repeatedly pressed Fauci about the timeline on loosening mitigation measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks during a House subcommittee hearing on the federal government’s COVID-19 response. The Ohio congressman, predictably, framed his question as a matter of Americans regaining their “freedom” and “liberties.”
After Jordan attempted to keep grilling Fauci even after his time was up, the Ohio congressman finally yielded his time when Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) scolded him to “shut your mouth.”
Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Fauci was asked about a poll showing 43% of Republicans refusing to get vaccinated, in light of the shouting match he found himself in with Jordan last week.
Fauci replied that he finds vaccine hesitancy among Republicans “quite frustrating” because it “actually works against where they want to be.”
The White House chief medical adviser added that everyone, including Republicans, shares concerns about coronavirus restrictions based on public health recommendations. Fauci went on to stress that the elimination of restrictions will depend on getting as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
“When that happens, for absolutely certain, you will see the level of virus in the community go down and down to the point where you would not have to have those public health restrictions,” Fauci said.
Fauci then decried the “almost paradoxical” rationale of Republicans who refuse to get vaccinated.
“On the one hand, they want to be relieved of the restrictions,” Fauci said. “On the other hand, they don’t want to be vaccinated. It almost doesn’t make any sense.”
Pressed on his tense exchange with Jordan last week, Fauci said that he doesn’t “enjoy those kinds of confrontations” and that Jordan made it “very clear” that he took issue with the restriction of so-called “liberties.”
“This has nothing to do with liberties,” Fauci said. “We’re talking about the fact that 560,000 people in our country have died. We’re talking about 70,000, 60-to-70 thousand new infections per day. That’s the issue. This is a public health issue. It’s not a civil liberties issue.”
Watch Fauci’s remarks below:
Dr. Fauci responds to Rep. Jim Jordan's claims that covid restrictions assault American's liberties.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 18, 2021