President Donald Trump is refusing to let National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who also serves on the White House COVID-19 task force, testify before a House subcommittee hearing scheduled for next week.
White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed in an emailed statement to TPM on Saturday that Fauci would not be allowed to appear in front of the the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on Wednesday.
“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 counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings,” Deere said. “We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”
The White House’s decision was first reported by the Washington Post.
An unnamed administration official told the Post that Fauci is slated to testify in front of the Senate to discuss testing amid the COVID-19 outbreak sometime during the week after he was supposed to appear at the House subcommittee hearing.
The doctor has often had to clean up Trump’s overly optimistic framing of the outbreak as the President pushes for an end to social distancing to allow the economy to reopen.
The resulting contradiction between Fauci and Trump’s messaging has reportedly angered the President, who retweeted a post in mid-April calling for the doctor’s ouster. However, the White House denied that Trump was planning to fire Fauci.