Dr. Anthony Fauci was seen laughing at a congressional hearing on Friday as Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan pressed him about the coronavirus risks from Black Lives Matter protesters and tried to get the top doctor to determine whether such gatherings should be banned.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke at a House hearing to give an update on efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, at times clashing with Jordan. As Raw Story reported, the Ohio Republican asked whether protests increase the spread of the virus, noting that close to 500,000 people have taken part in demonstrations across the country on June 6 alone. During that week and those that have followed, protesters have taken to the streets in American cities and towns, large and small, to call for justice for George Floyd and for efforts to address systemic racism.
During Friday’s hearing, Fauci did not comment specifically about protests, saying only that people crowding together without wearing a mask contributes to the spread of the virus.
“Should we limit the protesting?” the congressman asked.
“I’m not sure what you mean should — how do we say limit the protesting? I don’t think that’s relevant,” Fauci responded.
When Jordan pressed again to ask if they should “limit” the protests, Fauci again did not give a direct answer. The two had another back-and-forth before the GOP representative started to speak about churches being forced to close, with cameras capturing Fauci with a smile on his face as he looked from side to side.
Fauci again said he would not make judgments about what type of gathering people attend.
“I’m just making a statement that’s a broad statement that avoid crowds of any type no matter where you are because that leads to the acquisition and transmission, and I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd,” he said.
The Raw Story report noted the political undertones of the exchange, as the debate over how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak has taken an increasingly partisan slant for some involved. As The Inquisitr reported, Fauci himself has been criticized by many on the right who cite some of his early predictions about the COVID-19 that were off the mark.
Fauci has become a particularly popular target for Donald Trump and some of his close allies, including his son Donald Trump Jr. who this week shared a video of the doctor saying that he and the president have been largely in agreement on major decisions like extending travel bans.