Chaos broke out in the White House press room on Tuesday, after multiple reporters asked Anthony Fauci questions about the origins of Covid-19 and related investigations.
As reporters began asking questions, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to shut down the discussion.
"We have a process here, I'm not calling on people who yell, and you're being disrespectful to your colleagues and you're being disrespectful to our guests," she said, scolding the journalists. "I will not call on you if you yell, and also you're taking time off the clock because Dr. Fauci has to leave in a couple of minutes."
"You need to call people across the room! She has a valid question, she's asked about the origin of COVID," a reporter from Africa Today shot back.
Daily Caller's @DianaGlebova tries to ask Dr. Fauci about what he did to investigate the origins of covid and Jean-Pierre shuts her down. Another reporter yells at her for not letting Diana ask the question. pic.twitter.com/RieiEBwl2p
-- Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 22, 2022
Fauci only ended up answering three questions - including one about House Republicans taking the majority in Congress and potentially investigating him.
"I'll let other people judge the value or not of my accomplishments, but I would like people to remember about what I've done, is that every day for all of those years I've given it everything that I have and I've never left anything on the field," Fauci said.
He then called on people to get updated COVID-19 booster shots.
"Whether you're a far-right Republican or a far-left Democrat, it doesn't make any difference to me," he said. "I look upon it the same way as I did in the emergency room in middle New York City when I was taking care of everybody who was coming in off the street."
Fauci: "So my message and my final message -- maybe the final message I give you from this podium -- is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you're eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community" pic.twitter.com/Kaw25iKb7b
-- Donald Trump 2024 (@donald2024maga) November 22, 2022
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Fauci has been targeted by GOP officials and conservatives for the often dire predictions he's made about the trajectory of COVID-19 and for publicly backing COVID-19 shutdown orders, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates. Some, like Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said that Fauci and other federal officials have attempted to create panic over the virus.
DeSantis in August told podcaster Dan Bongino that Fauci tried to "sow fear in the population and scared a lot of parents" when he called for schools to be shut down in favor of in-person learning. "We can never go down that road," DeSantis said.
Starting in early 2020, Fauci has become essentially the public face of the federal government's pandemic response, making hundreds of media appearances and giving numerous interviews.
In the statement announcing the move in July, Fauci stated he is "not retiring" and will work on "science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats."
NIAID provided funds to EcoHealth Alliance, which conducted bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan. Chinese Communist Party officials have officially stated that the virus emerged at a wet market, but some U.S. intelligence officials believe it emerged at the Wuhan lab.
Republican lawmakers who have been investigating the lab-leak origin theory want to look further into whether NIAID or Fauci played a role in doling out funds to EcoHealth.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, also a Republican, and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry are expected to testify against Fauci as part of a lawsuit. In a lawsuit in May, the two officials alleged that Fauci's agency and other federal officials colluded with social media firms to censor speech.
"During COVID, we know that high-ranking Facebook officials were text messaging the surgeon general of the United States saying, ‘Hey, we took that down, what more can we do?' We also know that there was a special portal created for Big Tech with the government to take down people and have them de-platformed," Schmitt told Fox News earlier this week about the suit.
Other than Fauci, they've attempted to depose former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Jen Easterly, and FBI officials. The Biden administration has appealed their lawsuit, although a judge on Nov. 2 rejected the government's request.