- Dr. Anthony Fauci clashed with MP Jordanian at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on whether the government should act against protests to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- "I am unable to determine what the government can do vigorously," said Fauci. "You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are."
- Jordan repeatedly tried to get Fauci to say that the government should limit protests, but Fauci declined, saying that it was not his job to weigh what the government should or should not do.
- "I don't understand what you, as a public health official, are asking to decide who should or should not be arrested," said Fauci. "This is not my position. You could ask as many questions as you want, I will not answer it."
- Scroll down to see a clip of the exchange.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Ohio's representative, Jim Jordan, got into a heated frenzy during a hearing of the House subcommittee on the novel coronavirus on Friday morning.
It began when Jordan, one of President Donald Trump's largest attack dogs on Capitol Hill, repeatedly urged Fauci to consider whether widespread protests would increase the spread of COVID-19.
Fauci said that large crowds in general, especially those including people who don't wear masks, contribute to higher infection and transmission rates.
"Should the government limit the protest?" Jordan asked.
"I don't think that's relevant," said Fauci. "I am unable to determine what the government can do vigorously."
Jordan squeezed Fauci and said, "They make all sorts of recommendations."
He added that state governments are preventing people from attending church services, and asked Fauci, "Is there a world where the constitution says you can prefer freedom of first change by protesting another and practice your faith? "
"I don't prefer anyone to anyone," said Fauci. "I'm just making a statement, that's a broad statement. It avoids crowds of any kind, no matter where you are, because it leads to acquisition and transfer. And I don't judge a crowd against another crowd. If you are in a crowd , especially if you don’t wear a mask, it will spread. "
"I haven't seen any people injured in police and burning buildings during a service, but we do know that this has been happening in Portland for 63 days and nine weeks," said Jordan, referring to protests against racism since the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day held in the city. Many of the demonstrations became violent after federal law enforcement officers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and other materials to disperse protesters.
There are "no limits to protests," said Jordan, "(but) you can't go to church on Sunday."
"I don't know how many times I can answer that," Fauci replied. "I won't think of restricting anything."
Jordan pushed back and told Fauci that he had "said a lot of things".
"You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are," said Fauci.
"The government is preventing people from going to work," Jordan said, citing reports of two people arrested for reopening their gym. "Do you see the inconsistency, Dr. Fauci?"
When Fauci said there was "no inconsistency," Jordan replied, "You can protest, millions of people in a day, shouting, shouting, but if you try to run your business you will be arrested?"
Fauci, who seemed increasingly frustrated, said he didn't understand "why, as a public health official, you ask me to decide who should or shouldn't be arrested. It's not my position. You could ask me how." as much as you want and I will not answer it "
Jordan then claimed that Fauci said protests increase the spread of the virus, but Fauci pushed back. "I said crowds. I didn't say specifically, I didn't say protests."
"So the protests don't increase the spread of the virus?" Said Jordan.
"I didn't say that," said Fauci. "You put words in my mouth. I could tell you that crowds are known, especially if you don't have a mask to improve coverage and transmission no matter where the crowd is."
Watch a clip of the exchange below:
– Answer. Jim jordan (@jim_jordan) July 31, 2020