House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy blamed Democrats Thursday for the White House's refusal to let Anthony Fauci testify before the House Appropriations Committee.
The Democrat-led Committee is in charge of drawing up future funding packages to deal with the Covid-19 response, and wanted to hear from the widely respected Fauci, who runs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and is a key member of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force.. President Trump admitted Wednesday that he would not let Fauci speak to the House because it is a "setup" run by "a bunch of Trump haters."
But McCarthy put the onus on the Appropriations Committee.
"There [was] not the intention to deny Fauci to come," McCarthy said at his weekly news conference. "The only question the White House asked, Mark Meadows asked, was 'What’s the committee, what are you looking to look at? Because he might not be the best person if you’re looking for say, PPE, there might be somebody else. We want to make sure we have the best person to come,'" McCarthy said.
He said they talked three times and the Democrats "couldn’t tell what they wanted to have the hearing about, they just wanted Dr. Fauci."
"They said they would sent an email later, try to figure it out, and all they did put out [was] that they were denied," McCarthy said.
The committee instead held a hearing with experts who are not directly involved in the response. Trump has said he will left Fauci speak to the Republican-led Senate.
A spokesman for Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) scoffed at McCarthy's claims, and the idea that is is hard to figure out why the committee wants to hear from Fauci, the pre-eminent infectious disease expert in the nation.
"You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize winner to understand why the House committee that funds health programs wanted Dr. Fauci to appear at a hearing entitled COVID-19 response," said spokesman Evan Hollander. "President Trump already admitted that he blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying for political reasons, and these Republican attempts to deflect are just spin."
McCarthy said he wasn't worried that Trump would block all testimony to the House.
"I'm not concerned about it. I know there will be people here to testify in the House," McCarthy said.