Dr. Anthony Fauci is getting a little nervous.
The White House chief medical advisor, whose handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn either abject endorsement or stinging rebuke depending on whom you ask, expects to face some tough questions come next year.
In an interview with The Washington Post, a mouthpiece not known for its hostility to the good doctor, Fauci speculated that he’d likely be in the hot seat if Republicans take Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.
“It’s Benghazi hearings all over again,” Fauci told the Post, an odd comment for a supposedly apolitical and neutral medical advisor and chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The Benghazi comparison is a less than happy one for Fauci, given that those hearings were organized to investigate government negligence and incompetence and their contribution to the Libyan debacle in 2012.
The Benghazi hearings lasted for two years, intended to get to the bottom of the assault on US diplomatic offices in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The attack resulted in the death of four Americans, including CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
The hearings are probably best remembered for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tone-deaf “what difference, at this point, does it make?” comment, and the drubbing she received by the Republicans on the committee.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi ultimately cleared Clinton of responsibility, but the hearings appear to have made a lasting impression on the imaginations of Washington bureaucrats.
“They’ll try to beat me up in public, and there’ll be nothing there. But it will distract me from doing my job, the way it’s doing right now,” Fauci lamented. Oversight and accountability, in other words, are terrible distractions.
Of course, Fauci has good reason to be worried. The Republicans have made it quite clear that they intend to grill the doctor about his alleged involvement with outsourced gain-of-function research in the People’s Republic of China. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has distinguished himself as an especially persistent critic of Dr. Fauci, enlivening otherwise dull hearings with fiery exchanges that often seem to ruffle the NIAID director’s feathers.
Senator Paul has made it his mission to search out the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ascertain whether it is at all related to the NIAID-funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And he has ambitious plans should the Republicans retake Congress in 2023.
“If we take over the Senate next year, I’ll be chairman of the health committee,” Senator Paul observed, “and I pledge to use the subpoena power to get every last record about the origin of the virus, about Fauci.”
In a piece of legislation he introduced on Monday, Paul addressed the public’s growing weariness with the White House medical advisor by proposing to eliminate Fauci’s role as the director of NIAID altogether.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years,” Paul said, “but one lesson, in particular, is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief’…To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I’ve introduced this amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and divide his power into three separate new institutes.”
So it’s no wonder Dr. Fauci is nervous. Things are about to get very interesting for “America’s Doctor.”
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