Schumer tells Fauci before Senate coronavirus testimony: ‘Let it rip’
In eager anticipation of the Senate’s virtual hearings with four top doctors from President Trump’s coronavirus task force, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged Dr. Anthony Fauci to “let it rip.”
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is scheduled to testify for the first time before the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday about the way Trump has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Until now, we’ve mostly heard from the members of the coronavirus task force through the distorted lens of the White House press conference where the president often prevents them from answering fully, interrupts their response, or even contradicts their fact-based evidence,” Schumer said on Monday.
“This will be one of the first opportunities for Dr. Fauci to tell the American people the unvarnished truth without the president lurking over his shoulder. Dr. Fauci, let it rip,” he added.
Fauci will be joined by Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and Adm. Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health.
The will testify via teleconference due to social distancing restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The need for a virtual conference became even more paramount after two White House staffers tested positive for coronavirus, and several members of Trump’s task force — including Fauci, Redfield and Hahn — self-isolated or entered some form of quarantine themselves as a precautionary measure.
The New York Times reported late Monday that Fauci will warn that the country will risk “needless suffering and death” if it is opened up too quickly.
“The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” he wrote to reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg. “If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
The doctors’ testimonies come after Trump barred them from appearing before the House committee and required clearance from the chief of staff Mark Meadows before appearing remotely for Senate hearings on Capitol Hill.
Among the most anticipated lines of questioning as America moves to reopen the country state by state, will revolve around the availability of testing to make a return to normalcy feasible.
Trump officials said Monday that more than 9 million tests have been administered in the U.S., but state lawmakers have lamented the need for more if they will allow residents to go back to work and reopen businesses in the near future.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report