ANTHONY Fauci is facing calls to exit after resisting a demand to nix a six-figure research grant to the controversial Wuhan lab, where Covid-19 may have leaked.
Fauci reportedly first pushed back before relenting on a Trump White House directive to cancel the NIH grant to the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance which was teaming up with the Wuhan lab to perform research on coronaviruses.
It was only after Fauci learned that former President Trump was issuing the order back in April 2020, that the doctor "reluctantly agreed" to cut the funding, according to the new book Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History by Washington Post co-authors Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta, and reported by Fox News.
The book’s curtain raising insights into Fauci’s decision-making while the pandemic was raging, suggest he may have fibbed when he claimed the rest of the $600,000 grant to the nonprofit, which involved about $370,000, was "canceled because the NIH was told to cancel it."
That is at odd with Fauci’s testimony during a House Energy and Commerce hearing when he responded to Texas Democrat Rep. Marc Veasey asking about the reasons for the funding being cut off and the doctor said he didn’t "know the reason" behind the White House's order, according to Fox News.
The gross misstatements and possible mistruth has lawmakers demanding a sweeping probe into the Wuhan Institute of Virology and also seeking Fauci's ouster as head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID).
"Dr. Fauci is so obsessed with maintaining his own relevance and downplaying President Trump’s role in combating this crisis that he’s once again been caught lying," Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter told Fox News.
"We need someone leading the pandemic response and our investigation into its origins who is more concerned with the truth than their own PR campaign. It’s time for Dr. Fauci to go."
Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, cited marked discrepancies between the book excerpt’s and Fauci's comments at the hearing "very concerning," saying it "goes to show just how important it is to have full investigation into the origins of COVID-19."
"We owe it to the American people to find answers about how the pandemic happened and what Dr. Fauci knew and when he knew it," he said.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana demanded more accountability and a thorough understanding of the outbreak of the disease that has killed more than 600,000 Americans.
He said: "There are many unanswered questions that can only be answered with a full investigation by Congress."
He also called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats for failing to hold a “single hearing” on the origins of Covid-19 and in a Fox News appearance said: “It’s like they’re covering up for China instead of getting basic answers that we all ought to want to find the truth about.”
Texas Rep. Michael Burgess told the outlet that he had harbored a great deal of skepticism about Covid-19 when it was initially described as a respiratory virus and then also pushed for the Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats to “hold hearings to ensure that America was prepared if the virus came to our shores, and that we understood exactly of how this virus originated," according to Fox News.
"Clearly over the last year, we have learned a great deal of the behavior of this virus and we have seen statements by experts change over time as more is learned," the Republican explained.
He also suggested giving Fauci a chance to testify “under oath” what exactly happened when he was reportedly resisting the Trump directive to cut the lab funding and then claimed to be a lack of awareness when he appeared at the energy committee hearing.
"Dr. Fauci should be given and accept the opportunity to come before the committee again to provide, under oath, a fuller context to remarks attributed to him over the last year."
The book also depicts Fauci being targeted in the mail with a prank envelope filled with white powder.
In the moment where his face was smothered with the potentially poisonous substance – Fauci conjured three possibilities: he was being pranked, the substance was anthrax and while he’d surely get sick he’d likely live, or he was a “dead duck” if it was indeed ricin.
So for the next few hours Fauci and his team of scientists stiripped the doc naked and had him hover in a kiddy pool as they hosed him down and simultaneously tested the powder.
The booby-trapped mailing reportedly forced doctor's hand to ramp up protection efforts, but he has since added his own security detail.
“Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it’s amazing," he said in an interview with CNN last year.
Mounting criticism has Fauci on the hot seat.
Last month he admitted he couldn't be certain Wuhan lab scientists kept their word and avoided using the US grants to conduct so-called “Gain-of-Function.”
Gain-of-Function research can be understood as improving "the ability of a pathogen to cause disease" in humans, according to the US Department of Health and Human Service.
“There’s no way of guaranteeing that,” the director Fauci told Republican Sen. John Kennedy during an Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
The Louisiana senator pressed Fauci to explain where and how the $600,000 was spent.
Kennedy asked: “Here’s where I’m getting at: You gave them money, and you said, ‘Don’t do gain-of-function research.’”
Fauci acknowledged that his assessment was “correct.”
Then Kennedy verified that the scientists would keep their word.
Fauci again agreed.
“And you have no way of knowing whether they did or not, except you trust them. Is that right,” Kennedy asked.
On the defense, Fauci tried to say “we generally always trust” fellow scientists or in this case grantees performing research.
He’s also being scrutinized for failing to act well ahead of the worst pandemic in modern human history now that more evidence is coming forward lending credibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology may bear some responsibility.
There was “deliberate destruction, concealment or contamination of data” in Chinese labs and “Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so or have disappeared,” according to a paper, written by British Professor Angus Dalgleish and Norwegian scientist Dr. Birger Sørensen.
The research lends credence to no longer the stuff of conspiracy that Covid-19 may have been created in the Wuhan lab and not naturally sourced from bats at a wet market.
Fauci has tried to counterpunch.
In an interview on The Sway podcast with Kara Swisher, he defended against accusations of see-sawing with science and the truth.
"It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves. And that's the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science."
The 80-year-old top infectious disease expert went on to insist that "that's the way science works."
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