Senators Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), and Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) are calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s resignation, claiming that he has “lost the confidence of the American people.”
If Fauci will not resign, the senators are demanding President Biden fire him amid a controversy over the origins of COVID after Fauci and others had dismissed the lab-leak theory as a right-wing conspiracy theory for months.
“Dr. Fauci has lost the confidence of the American people with his repeated evasions, misdirection, and politicized statements,” Cotton said, according to Fox News. “If he won’t resign, Joe Biden should fire him.”
Rubio told Fox News that if President Biden is “committed to science and finding the truth about COVID, he needs to fire Fauci.”
“For 16 months we have seen Dr. Fauci withhold information, dismiss plausible explanations of COVID’s origin, and outright lie to Congress,” Rubio said. “He is supposed to be a fact-based public health official, not a pundit distorting the truth to conform with his personal judgment.”
Meanwhile, Blackburn said this week that Fauci “needs to step down” and that the Biden administration should ask him to “step away from his post.”
Many one-time detractors have now accepted the possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a lab, particularly since Biden last month released a statement saying that the U.S. intelligence community has “coalesced around two likely scenarios” for the origins of COVID-19, “including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”
Fauci has faced renewed criticism after thousands of his emails were released through a Freedom of Information Act filing last week. The emails show Fauci’s early dismissals of the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.
They also show that Fauci brushed off a message warning of Chinese disinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has also previously called for Fauci to resign or be fired by Biden. Meanwhile, other House Republicans have demanded Fauci testify before Congress on his emails and more.
In response to criticisms, Fauci on Wednesday claimed that the attacks on him “are attacks on science.”
“All of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science,” Fauci said during an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. “Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people and there was pushback against me, so if you are trying to, you know, get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you’re attacking science.”
He continued: “And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that. That is what is going on. Science and the truth are being attacked.”
Meanwhile, the White House is standing by Fauci. President Biden said he is “very confident” in the NIAID director.
Last week following the release of Fauci’s emails, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Fauci an “undeniable asset in our country’s pandemic response.”
“He’s overseen management of multiple global health crises, and attacks launched on him are certainly something we wouldn’t stand by,” Psaki said during a press briefing.
Asked if she can imagine any circumstance where Biden would ever fire Fauci, Psaki responded, “No.”