Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley told News-Press NOW on Wednesday that he stands by his decision to call for the resignation of Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the government’s most recognizable COVID-19 experts.
Hawley’s statement comes as news organizations obtained thousands of emails sent to or from Fauci through open records requests.
Detractors have pointed to an email sent to Fauci from an executive at a nonprofit that funded some research in Wuhan, China. In that email, from April of 2020, the executive thanked Fauci for his public stance that COVID-19 emerged from a natural origin.
“There’s correspondence with groups and scientists who had participated or funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and were actively trying to conceal their involvement in that research,” Hawley told News-Press NOW.
In his defense, Fauci told CNN that, “you can misconstrue (the email) however you want.”
“That email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak,” Fauci told CNN.
U.S. intelligence has coalesced around two theories for the origin of COVID-19: That the virus escaped a lab in China or it jumped from an animal specifies to humans.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill, sponsored by Hawley, that would require the Biden administration to declassify intelligence relating to any potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origins of the pandemic.
Hawley also pointed to another email, sent in February of 2020 from Fauci to another high-ranking government official, where Fauci said the official wouldn’t need to wear a mask since she was traveling to a low-risk location.
That guidance would later be contradicted by Fauci and other scientists as research on COVID-19 developed.
“The difference between what he was assessing about mask-wearing, for instance, other preventative measures, and then how he changed his views without any explanation of the public, that’s concerning,” Hawley told News-Press NOW.
But Fauci said the U.S. government accumulated more data after his February email, which was sent before COVID-19 had reached pandemic status.
“You’re asking a question, ‘Would you do something different if you know what you know now?’ Of course, people would have done that. That’s so obvious,” Fauci told CNN.