Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus during the White House press conference on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he would cooperate fully with House Republicans as they launch an inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
GOP lawmakers vowed in August to launch such an investigation and ask Fauci to testify if they won the House majority in the midterm elections. They won that majority earlier this month.
“If there are any surveillance hearings, I will definitely cooperate fully and testify before Congress,” Fauci told reporters during a White House briefing on Tuesday.
“I have no problem testifying – we can defend and explain everything we said.”
Fauci became the face of the US pandemic response as a leading infectious disease expert under the Trump and Biden administrations.
He has repeatedly argued with Republicans in Congress over whether the virus that causes Covid originated naturally or escaped from a research lab in Wuhan, China.
Fauci has claimed that it’s far more likely that the virus passed from animals to humans.
U.S. intelligence agencies under the Biden administration were divided on the most likely origin in an assessment released in August 2021.
One agency had moderate confidence that the virus infected people after a laboratory incident, while four agencies had low confidence that the virus had a natural origin, according to the assessment, which did not identify those agencies.
Earlier this year, he announced he would step down in December after nearly 40 years as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
For decades, Fauci was a respected public health official on both sides of the political aisle.
But as the response to the pandemic became increasingly politicized under then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, Fauci became a lightning rod for many conservatives in Congress.
In addition to arguing with them about the origins of the virus, Fauci has repeatedly feuded with Republicans in Congress over mask and vaccine policies.