House Republicans’ Attempts to Attack Fauci Go Wildly Off Rails

Dr. Anthony Fauci visited Capitol Hill on Monday to testify on the origins of Covid-19, but some Republican members on the House Oversight Committee had no intention of asking anything even remotely relevant to scientific inquiry.

The former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was repeatedly grilled by GOP lawmakers who clearly had not done their homework before they tried to pin baseless allegations against him, in an apparent attempt to undermine his credibility as the medical leader of America’s pandemic response.

The hearing opened with committee Chair James Comer refusing to let Fauci actually answer any of his questions. The Kentucky Republican said it was because he had so many questions to get through.

In another embarrassing instance, New York Representative Nicole Malliotakis tried—and failed—to implicate the infectious diseases expert in a popular conspiracy theory, including that he had received royalties from pharmaceutical companies for coronavirus-related medications and vaccines.

“How much have you earned in royalties from pharmaceutical companies since the pandemic began in 2021?” asked Malliotakis.

“Zero,” replied Fauci.

The New York Republican then proceeded to read a headline in front of her, citing that an “NIH scientist had made $710 million from drugmakers.” “You’re saying that you did not receive any of the $710 million?” she pressed.

Fauci knew exactly how much he had made: just $122 for a somewhat unrelated monoclonal antibody that he had patented decades prior. But Malliotakis wasn’t satisfied with that. Instead, she attempted to corner Fauci on any royalties—not necessarily related to Covid—that he had received over the course of the pandemic, and whether any of the $710 million had gone to him.

“I think none,” Fauci said before fending off bubbling interruptions from the Trump ally. “No—I’m on the record, and I want to make sure that this is clear: that I developed a monoclonal antibody about 25 years ago that’s used as a diagnostic that has nothing to do with Covid, and I receive about $120 a year from that patent.”

Later, Arizona Representative Debbie Lesko attempted to frame Fauci for allegedly participating in a series of emails that discussed suppressing the “lab leak theory” for  Covid without realizing that the emails don’t actually exist.

“You said about four or five things, Congressman, that were just not true,” Fauci responded after Lesko laid out her theory.

“Well, we have emails to prove it,” Lesko said.

“But you don’t,” he said, before Maryland Representative Kweisi Mfume interjected to correct Lesko that “no, we don’t have it.”

“I get tired of hearing ‘We got it,’ and then when we ask for it, it’s not there. We do not have it,” Mfume said. “That’s just incorrect.”

And another mind-boggling line of questioning by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan prompted the medical expert to ask, “What does that have to do with me?”