Fauci rejects claims from former CDC director that he 'froze-out' lab leak proponents
Fauci, for his part, contended that Redfield's presence would not have been objectionable but that he had not been the one to select the call's participants.
Former National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday rejected congressional testimony from a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director alleging that Fauci had excluded proponents of the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab from major discussions on handling the pandemic.
"I really feel badly about that because I've known Bob a long time. He is totally and unequivocally incorrect in what he's saying, that I excluded him. I had nothing to do with who would be on that call," Fauci told Fox News's Neil Cavuto of former CDC Director Robert Redfield's testimony.
Redfield had told Congress that he was excluded from a Feb. 1, 2020, call saying, "I was quite upset as the CDC director that I was excluded, excluded from those discussions. Why would they do this? Because I had a different point of view and I was told they made a decision that they would keep this confidential until they came up with a single narrative."
Fauci, for his part, contended that Redfield's presence would not have been objectionable but that he had not been the one to select the call's participants. He further contended that he had not ever taken a firm stance on the virus's origin one way or another.
Formerly maligned as a conspiracy theory, the notion that the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology has increasingly gained traction with federal agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Energy.
Some lawmakers have taken the theory a step further, suggesting openness to the idea that China may have orchestrated the pandemic's spread to gauge international response or to target former President Donald Trump.
"If you look at all the substantial and circumstantial evidence here, the timing of the leak, the fact that they denied and denied that it even came from a lab... It wouldn't surprise me at all, the Chinese Communist Party released this virus," Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube said Thursday on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.