Anthony Fauci prevented from testifying at the House Coronavirus hearing

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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, speaks during a press conference of the Coronavirus Task Force in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, Saturday March 21, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The White House has prevented Trump’s chief health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, from testifying in a House hearing on the response of the US coronavirus next week.

The subcommittee of the House Supply Committee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Social Services, Education and related organizations wanted Fauci, who established himself as one of the most vocal voices reliable on the virus, appears at a hearing Wednesday morning on how the government has managed the pandemic. The panel was “informed by an administration official that the White House prevented Dr. Fauci from testifying,” committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement.

White House spokesman Judd Deere also confirmed that the White House prevented the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases from appearing before the House. He said that while the administration is trying to fight the pandemic that has killed more than 60,000 Americans, “it is counterproductive to involve the same people in these efforts during congressional hearings.”

“We are committed to working with Congress to provide timely testimony,” Deere said in a statement.

As the White House faces backlash for its first efforts to slow the spread of the epidemic and speed up production of coronavirus tests and medical supplies, it has hampered most efforts to oversee its actions. In addition to regular committee hearings in the House, the Democrats have also set up a select committee to monitor how the administration is implementing an unprecedented series of more than $ 2.5 trillion in bailouts federal spending.

The Trump administration has accepted the creation of a separate watchdog as part of the $ 2 trillion bailout package adopted in March. But Trump has pulled out the Inspector General, keeping an eye on how the administration is handling historic spending just days after the official, Glenn Fine, was appointed.

Fauci, a longtime government official, was seen as a stable presence during the crisis – unlike a president who frequently shared inaccurate or misleading information during administrative briefings on the epidemic. Trump last month retweeted a social media user calling “#FireFauci” after the health official said the United States could “obviously” have saved more lives if they acted faster to contain the virus.

Fauci then joined Trump at a press briefing to say that he used “the wrong choice of words.”

He is one of the most trusted voices on the pandemic, according to a CNBC / Change Research poll conducted last month. In six states – Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – 76% of respondents said they trusted Fauci “a lot” or “some” to decide when the economy should reopen, compared to just 24 % who said they trust him. “Not much” or “not at all”.

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