‘Here’s How it Works, Dr. Fauci, I Get to Ask You the Questions’: Jordan Goes Off On Fauci

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion




Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan went scorched earth on Dr. Anthony Fauci and gave him quite the reality check.

During a hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the coronavirus, Jordan ripped Fauci for flip-flopping on Covid mitigation measures and demanded Fauci give him a date for when the Covid restrictions and lockdowns would end.

During his allotted time, Jordan challenged Fauci directly several times, asking when Americans might be able to get their “liberties back.”

“When is the time?” asked Jordan, beginning his allotted five minutes to question the witnesses. “In your written statement, you say, ‘Now is not the time to pull back on masking, physical distancing and avoiding congregate settings.’ When is the time? When do Americans get their freedom back?” Jordan asked.

“When we get the level of infection in this country low enough that it is not a really high –,” began Fauci, before Jordan cut him off.

“What is low enough? Give me a number,” the lawmaker interjected. “We had 15 days to slow the spread, turned into one year of lost liberty. What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get more freedoms?”

Fauci launched into a response stressing the importance of the ongoing national vaccination effort but still stopped short of providing specific goals.

“My message, Congressman Jordan, is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can to get the level of infection in this country low that it is no longer a threat,” he said. “That is when, and I believe when that happens, you will see –“

“What determines when?” Jordan asked. “What measure? Are we just going to continue this forever? … What standard, what objective outcome do we have to reach before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?”

“You’re indicating ‘liberty and freedom.’ I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital,” Fauci said.

Responded Jordan, “You don’t think Americans’ liberties have been threatened the last year, Dr. Fauci? They’ve been assaulted!”

Fauci fired back that he doesn’t “look at this as a liberty thing,” to which Jordan retorted, “Well, that’s obvious!”

“You think the Constitution is suspended during a virus, during a pandemic?” continued Jordan. “It’s certainly not! … Over the last year, Americans’ First Amendment rights have been completely attacked. Your right to go to church, your right to assemble, your right to petition your government, freedom of the press, freedom of speech have all been assaulted.”

“I think you’re making this a personal thing, and it isn’t,” said Fauci.

“It’s not a personal thing,” insisted Jordan.

“No, you are!” thundered Fauci. “That is exactly what you’re doing! … My recommendations are not personal recommendations. It’s based on the CDC guidance, which is –“

Jordan again interjected to demand more specificity.

“And I’m asking the question, what measures have to be attained before Americans get their First Amendment liberties back?” he pressed.

Responded Fauci, “I just told you that!”

“No, you haven’t given anything specific,” said Jordan.

Fauci underscored the fatal force of the pandemic to illustrate what’s at stake.

“Right now we have about 60,000 infections a day, which is a very large risk for a surge,” he said. “We’re not talking about liberties. We’re talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans.”

Jordan conceded the staggering death toll, but said it wasn’t the only concern.

“I understand how serious that is,” he said. “But I also understand it’s pretty serious when businesses have been shut down, people can’t go to church, people can’t assemble in their own homes, with their friends, with their families. … I also understand the First Amendment’s pretty darn important.”

The pair clashed for a second time later in the hearing, when Jordan pressed him again for a “specific measurement that will have to be attained, some outcome, some result that we have to reach so that Americans know they’re going to get their liberties back and be able to move on with their lives.”

“If I have a number, it would have to be my best estimate,” Fauci said. “And that would be that the number of infections per day, or well below 10,000 per day. At that point, and up to that point, there would be a gradual pulling back of some of the restrictions.”

But Jordan continued to press him to give “your best guess,” to which Fauci replied, “I just did.”

“No, you didn’t. You didn’t give us a time…Are we going to be here two years from now wearing masks?” Jordan said.

Responded Fauci, “You’re ranting again.”

“I’m not ranting,” Jordan said, prompting Fauci to interject, “Yes, you are.”

Jordan then pushed back to say that he was doing his job.

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“Here’s how it works, Dr. Fauci, I get to ask you the questions. You’re the highest-paid official in the United States government. You’ve given us your advice on baseball, on dating apps, on cruise ships,” he said.

“I’m just asking you when is it going to end. You can say I’m ranting, I’m actually asking the questions [for] the citizens I get the privilege of representing and my name actually goes on a ballot. I don’t think your name has ever been on a ballot” he continued.

“You call it ranting. I actually call it standing up for the Constitution, which I take an oath to uphold.”

Jordan again asked for a specific number. Fauci began to respond, but the next member began to speak, thanking committee Chairman Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

“I’d like my question answered!” Jordan demanded.

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