While President Biden praised Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday following the announcement Fauci was stepping down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), House Republicans vowed to make the White House chief medical adviser answer for what they called a “disastrous tenure.”
On Monday, Fauci announced he would be leaving both the National Institutes of Health and the Biden administration to “pursue the next chapter” in his career.
“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” he said. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”
Fauci, 81, had served as a top infectious diseases expert under seven US presidents but was largely unknown until the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020. He has since come under fire after the NIH admitted last year it had funded so-called “gain-of-function” research at a lab in Wuhan, China, where the virus first emerged.
“While I’m sure your retirement will comprise maskless baseball games, more photo shoots, a Netflix documentary, & probably a contributorship on CNN — retirement from the govt’ does NOT mean you’ll get off scot-free,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) tweeted. “The @HouseGOP has A LOT of questions, be ready to answer them.”
“Dr. Fauci is conveniently resigning from his position in December before House Republicans have an opportunity to hold him accountable for destroying our country over these past three years,” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs wrote. “This guy is a coward.”
“Make no mistake, my colleagues and I will hold Dr. Fauci accountable whether or not he remains in public office,” Biggs added in a second post.
“So Dr. Fauci is stepping down in December,” tweeted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). “That won’t stop a Republican Congress from telling the truth about his disastrous tenure and holding him accountable for the mistakes he made and the lies he told.”
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) also chimed in, saying, “Republicans must remain committed to holding Fauci accountable even after he steps down to make sure no one in his position ever abuses the public trust again.”
“Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight,” Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said Monday.
“The American people deserve transparency and accountability about how government officials used their taxpayer dollars, and @GOPoversight will deliver.”
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) echoed that sentiment by simply tweeting, “Retirement can’t save Dr. Fauci from Congressional investigation.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) used Fauci’s own words when reflecting on his announcement, writing, “Dr. Fauci’s ‘next chapter’ will involve testifying before the House Oversight Committee.”
Another Texas Republican, Rep. Troy Nehls, urged the doctor to “preserve” his records, indicating that a Republican House majority would immediately call Fauci up to Capitol Hill beginning next year.
“Preserve your records and don’t delete any emails. A time of reckoning will come,” the Texas lawmaker wrote. “We will see you in January.”
“Excellent. He’ll have an open schedule when a Republican majority subpoenas him in January,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) agreed.
Florida Republican Daniel Webster also called for accountability, tweeting, “When Republicans gain majority, we will use our constitutional oversight authority to hold the Biden Administration, including Dr. Fauci, accountable.”