Republican lawmakers and conservative critics suggested there is no coincidence behind the timing of Dr. Anthony Fauci's retirement from government service.
Fauci, 81, announced Monday that he is stepping down from his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser in December to pursue other career goals.
What did Republicans say?
When the dust settles after the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans will almost certainly have control of the House.
If that happens, Republicans will control committees and be in charge of setting the policy agenda of the House. They will also be able to freely conduct oversight investigations and will have the power to create special investigative committees, like the Jan. 6. committee.
Fauci's critics thus argued that he is choosing to retire from government service in December — as opposed to the end of President Joe Biden's term as he originally indicated — because he will be the subject of congressional investigations.
- "Dr. Fauci is conveniently resigning from his position in December before House Republicans have an opportunity to hold him accountable for destroying our country over these past three years. This guy is a coward," said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
- "Wow, Dr. Fauci says he'll resign just a few days before Republicans possibly retake Congress. What a coincidence. Hold the #hearings anyways," said conservative radio host Glenn Beck.
- "Fauci isn’t getting off that easily!! When Republicans take the majority, Fauci should be ready to receive a SUBPOENA!" said Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).
- "It's no coincidence that Dr. Fauci just announced that he will resign from the government in December, which is right after Republicans will take back the House and immediately plan oversight into our pandemic response and his funding of gain of function research at the Wuhan Lab," said Mercedes Schlapp, a former top official in the Trump administration.
- "Anthony Fauci has just announced he’s stepping aside in December — just before Republicans take the House & Senate back," said Eric Schmitt, a GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate.
- "Dr. Fauci announces he’s stepping down in December. Fauci’s running scared with Republicans taking control of the House, at minimum, next year," said radio host Clay Travis.
But what did lawmakers promise?
Republican lawmakers vowed that, despite Fauci's retirement from government service, they will still investigate.
"Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) promised.
"So Dr. Fauci is stepping down in December. That won’t stop a Republican Congress from telling the truth about his disastrous tenure and holding him accountable for the mistakes he made and the lies he told," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said.
How exactly those investigations will take shape remains to be seen.