Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) went on a tear Wednesday against Dr. Anthony Fauci over the longtime government health official’s resistance to the theory that COVID came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China.
“He was trying to cover his backside, and everybody knows it,” Jordan declared during a hearing of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. “And that’s the part that ticks us off.”
“This is the highest paid guy in our government getting all kinds of money to tell us things that were not accurate,” Jordan continued. “We now know U.S. tax dollars went to a lab in China, a lab that was not up to code, a lab that was doing gain-of-function research, and that’s where this thing most definitely came from.”
WATCH: @Jim_Jordan DEMOLISHES Fauci’s COVID origins story pic.twitter.com/k9muabjAS7
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 8, 2023
New intelligence reportedly led the Energy Department to assess with “low confidence” that the pandemic likely began with a lab leak, a shift from its prior stance of being undecided. Some scientists and many Republicans have long claimed that the virus originated in a lab and that China has been engaged in a cover-up, which Beijing has denied. Other U.S. agencies and a preliminary World Health Organization assessment from 2021 have placed more faith in the natural emergence theory — a view that Fauci has favored.
A longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci became the face of the federal government’s response to COVID during the Trump and Biden administrations. He even became President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, a role in which he served until his retirement from government at the end of last year.
Republicans who have pledged to investigate Fauci have placed a major focus on federal funding for bat coronavirus research with ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci vociferously denies the work amounted to gain-of-function research. But money that went elsewhere also has attracted interest from investigators.
During his five minutes, Jordan raced through a timeline of events during the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 and questioned why a pair of leading virologists appeared to flip from favoring the lab leak theory to rejecting the hypothesis without the emergence of new scientific data. A possible explanation, Jordan offered, was a grant for nearly $9 million. “There’s 9 million reasons why they changed their mind,” the congressman quipped.
Jordan also talked about how the government’s COVID task force kept former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, who was a witness at the hearing Wednesday, “out of the loop” for having a different view to not so quickly discount the theory that COVID emerged from a lab leak.
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“Keeping him out of the loop probably — potentially could have harmed America —” Jordan said, before taking a moment to collect his thoughts. “That’s the thing that ticks us all off,” he went on to say before expressing how important it is to get to the bottom of COVID’s origins.