When the long nightmare that is the COVID-19 pandemic finally ends it will fall to medical professionals, policy experts, and historians to perform a comprehensive post mortem analysis on the Trump administration’s abysmal handling of this deadly outbreak.
The president himself has consistently downplayed the risks posed by the novel coronavirus and has made a string of disastrous decisions, from picking fights with governors at a time when he should be unifying the country to appointing the woefully inexperienced and absurdly unqualified Jared Kushner to lead a coronavirus shadow task force.
Throughout all of this, the one reliable fixture in the federal government has been Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a prominent member of the White House’s Coroanvirus Task Force. Even as Trump and his many lackeys work to spread misinformation and paint themselves in as flattering a light as possible, Fauci has remained stalwart, gently pushing back on false claims when needed and sticking to the facts.
This week, the House Appropriations Committee is holding a COVID-19 hearing overseen by the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee. Dr. Fauci would serve as an ideal witness, but the committee revealed last week that their official request for his testimony has been blocked by the White House.
CONFIRMED: The House Appropriations Committee says it sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at Wednesday’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. It says an administration official informed it that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 1, 2020
Clearly, the administration is worried that Fauci might get up in front of Congress and state the full and unvarnished truth, exposing their myriad shortcomings in the process. By blocking him from testifying outright they completely avoid that possible outcome. In the process, they also deny the American people Fauci’s invaluable insight. It’s a clear case of the Trump team putting their own political needs above the health interests of the country.
“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 counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings. We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time,” White House Spokesperson Judd Deere said to NBC News.
Now the Trump administration is escalating its war on transparency even further. RealClearPolitics‘ Phillip Wegmann reports that the White House is expanding its testifying ban from Fauci to the rest of the Coronavirus Task Force for the entire month of May.
The unconvincing explanation offered by officials is that the Task Force members have to “focus on the task at hand,” a particularly hypocritical statement since the president himself wastes most of his time hurling insults on Twitter. There is no real reason why Task Force members shouldn’t be allowed to carve out a few hours of time to share what they know with the American people. This is a blatant effort to suppress the truth and must be condemned as such.
White House stopped Fauci from testifying last week. New guidance will apply to all members of the task force for May. The goal is to make sure "task force members have the time they need to focus on the task at hand." https://t.co/F0HsCAkymq
— Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) May 4, 2020
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