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'Teflon Tony' Survives the Hot Seat

‘Teflon Tony’ Survives the Hot Seat

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Former director of NIAID Tony Fauci at Capitol Hill June 3, 2024.

US Congressional hearings probing the origins of Covid-19 continued this week, with Tony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in the hot seat.

The hearing had some heated exchanges and revealed the intense partisan divide over the US government’s handling of the pandemic.

Democrats gushed over Fauci, calling him a ‘hero’ and praising his efforts in leading America through the pandemic. Republicans, on the other hand, accused Fauci of heavy-handedness and of trying to cover up the origins of Covid.

“Dr Fauci, you oversaw one of the most invasive regimes of domestic policy the US has ever seen,” said Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), chair of the investigating subcommittee.

“You became so powerful that any disagreements the public had with you were forbidden and censored on social and most legacy media, time and time again. That is why so many Americans became so angry,” added Wenstrup.

Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), chair of subcommittee

Fauci, though small in stature, stood tall and vehemently denied the accusations against him. He boasted his leadership at the NIAID put America in the best position to deal with the pandemic and scoffed at the idea that he bribed scientists to reject the lab-leak theory. 

“The accusation being circulated that I influenced these scientists to change their minds by bribing them with millions of dollars in grant money is absolutely false and simply preposterous,” said Fauci in his opening statement.

Fauci said NIAID’s billions of dollars in research into mRNA technology led to the swift development of “safe and highly effective” Covid vaccines that “saved tens of millions of lives worldwide.”

The sentiments of this week’s public hearing, paralleled those of Fauci’s two-day closed-door hearing in January earlier this year, which I covered previously – but this time – Fauci seemed more direct and better rehearsed.

There was great anticipation of Fauci’s response to questions about his former scientific advisor David Morens, who admitted in emails that the ‘FOIA lady’ taught him to “make emails disappear” and delete any “smoking guns” for potential FOIA requests.

The subpoenaed emails not only showed Morens conducted federal business on Gmail accounts to avoid FOIA requests, but that public officials would intentionally misspell certain words to prevent their emails from being captured by “key word searches” once a FOIA request was actioned.

Morens implicated Fauci in the conspiracy to destroy public records by writing that Fauci was “too smart” to let people send sensitive information to his work email address in case it was captured by FOIA requests.

None of this, however, seemed to touch Fauci at the hearing.

Fauci quickly distanced himself from Morens saying, “That was wrong and inappropriate and violated policy…he should not have done that.”

According to Fauci, despite Morens having the title of “senior advisor to the NIAID director” he did not have a significant advisory role.

Fauci explained, “Even though he was helpful to me in writing scientific papers, Dr Morens was not an advisor to me on Institute policy or other substantive issues.”

And on the issue of whether Fauci was part of Morens’ attempts to cover up the role of Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance in gain-of-function research, Fauci forcefully denied any knowledge of a cover-up.

“I knew nothing of Dr Morens’ actions regarding Dr Daszak, EcoHealth, or his emails,” said Fauci protesting that he remained ‘open-minded’ about the origins of the virus.

Former NIAID director, Tony Fauci

When confronted with his previous comments about the lack of science behind the ‘6-foot rule’ of physical distancing, Fauci pivoted and shifted the blame to the CDC.

“It had little to do with me since I didn’t make the recommendation, and my saying ‘there was no science behind it‘ meant there was no clinical trial behind that,” explained Fauci.

There were also new revelations which had been published in the New York Post on Sunday, that $690 million in royalties had been paid to the NIAID and 260 of its scientists during the pandemic, from late 2021 through 2023. 

Fauci vigorously denied receiving any financial royalties that had anything to do with Covid, and when pressed by Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) about who received the funds, Fauci said “somebody did, but not me.”

During the hearing, Fauci was played an audio clip of a previous interview he did about vaccine mandates where he stated, “It’s been proven that when you make it difficult for people in their lives, they lose their ideological bullshit, and they get vaccinated.”

When Rich McCormick (R-GA) asked whether Fauci still believed that objections to vaccine mandates were “ideological bullshit,” Fauci countered by saying “No they’re not,” claiming his comments were taken out of context and not intended to dismiss all concerns as mere ideology.

Rich McCormick (R-GA)

Perhaps the most controversial moment of the hearing was when Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) suggested the subcommittee should issue a criminal referral against Fauci.

“We should be recommending you to be prosecuted. We should be writing a criminal referral. You should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. You belong in prison, Dr Fauci,” remarked Taylor-Greene.

She went on to say that Fauci should have his medical license revoked and she refused to use his “doctor” title.

“You’re not ‘doctor’ you are ‘Mr’ Fauci,” Taylor-Greene said. When instructed by Wenstrup to call Fauci by his title, she retorted, “I’m not addressing him as doctor.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)

Despite the presence of several physicians on the subcommittee, there seemed to be no inquiries about the documented harms of Covid vaccines, the vaccine-injured or the excess deaths observed in the US and many other countries.

Both Democrat and Republican members condemned the death threats faced by Fauci, his wife, and daughters, via emails, texts, and letters, prompting him to require a security detail.

“There have been credible death threats leading to the arrest of two individuals,” explained Fauci. “And ‘credible death threats’ means someone who clearly was on their way to kill me.”

Although random hatchets were thrown at Fauci during the hearing, he managed to garner a fair bit of support from the subcommittee and seemed to come out relatively unscathed, earning him the title of ‘Teflon Tony.’

The subcommittee will release a final report by the end of 2024, with its findings and recommendations from its two-year investigation. 

Republished from the author’s Substack



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Author

  • Maryanne Demasi

    Maryanne Demasi, 2023 Brownstone Fellow, is an investigative medical reporter with a PhD in rheumatology, who writes for online media and top tiered medical journals. For over a decade, she produced TV documentaries for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and has worked as a speechwriter and political advisor for the South Australian Science Minister.

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