On Tuesday, President Donald Trump gave a new reason why his administration chose not to allow Dr. Fauci to testify about its COVID-19 response in front of the House of Representatives. Steve Herman, Voice of America's White House Bureau Chief, tweeted about the president's latest claims.
"Asked why Fauci can't testify in the Democrat-controlled House, @POTUS replies it's because lawmakers in that chamber are 'Trump haters.'"
Trump further noted that he thought the invitation for Dr. Fauci to testify in front of the committee in the Democrat-controlled House was a "set-up," The Guardian reported. The answer came during President Trump's trip to Arizona to tour Honeywell in Phoenix. The facility is making masks to help provide protection against coronavirus infections. During his visit, the president will tour the assembly line, and he indicated that he would wear a mask even though he's typically been resistant to the facial covering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The House Appropriations Committee invited Dr. Fauci, who is a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, to testify before a live hearing on Wednesday. Previously, the president prohibited members of his task force from testifying, according to a report from The Hill. On Monday, the Trump administration issued the new guidance for its task force members, and it also advised other pandemic response agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department, to limit appearances in front of Congress.
"We're telling agencies that during this unprecedented time our resources need to be dedicated toward the coronavirus. At this stage, we really need everybody manning their stations and prioritizing coronavirus response work," a senior administration official told The Hill.Last week, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere also made a statement about the possibility of officials testifying before Congress. He noted that the people who were focused on safely reopening the country did not have time to appear at hearings at the same time they were working on such an enormous task. The advice from the Trump administration sought to make pandemic response the priority for the various departments involved in the government's response. Deere said that the administration would work with Congress to provide testimony at a more appropriate time.
On May 12, Dr. Fauci is scheduled to appear and give testimony about the Trump administration's pandemic response before the Republican-controlled Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.