Reporter asks Fauci how ‘free’ it feels to be with Biden administration
During a Thursday afternoon White House press briefing, one reporter broke away from asking about the current state of the virus and vaccines and instead got rather chummy with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the President in President Joe Biden‘s administration, asking him “how free” Fauci feels now that he doesn’t work for former President Donald Trump. Fauci replied, saying it’s “somewhat of a liberating feeling.”
“You joked a couple times today already about the difference […] that you feel in being kind of the spokesperson for this issue in this administration versus the previous one. Can you talk a little bit about how free, how much different, do you feel less constrained?” the reporter asked Fauci, then interrupting himself to find his words.
“For so many times, you stood up behind the podium with Donald Trump standing behind you—that was a different feeling, I’m sure, than it is today,” the reporter continued. “Can you talk a little bit about how you feel kind of released from what you had been doing for the last year?”
“You said that I was joking about it. I was very serious,” Fauci replied, then letting out a laugh and the reporter started laughing too.
After the laughter died down, Fauci said that it “was very clear that there were things that were said, be it regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that—that really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact.”
“I can tell you I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president and so it was really something that you didn’t feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn’t be any repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence [is], what the science is and know that’s it—let the science speak. It is somewhat a liberating feeling.”
Before the reporter’s time with Fauci ran out, he asked the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases one more question.
“You were basically banished for a few months there for a while. Do you feel like you’re back now?” he asked.
Fauci chuckled and replied: “I think so.” The room then broke out into laughter.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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House GOP: Conservatives Paralyze Legislative Business
Conservatives within the House GOP are taking on party leaders by engaging in an unprecedented blockade, effectively paralyzing the chamber’s legislative business. The standoff began after a typically routine procedural vote failed on Tuesday, prompting conservatives to seize control of the floor.
At the center of the dispute is the debt limit deal struck between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Biden. Some conservatives feel that the procedures used to pass the deal in the House last week did not align with the agreement they had reached with McCarthy. This agreement granted conservatives more influence over decision-making and the operational procedures involved in moving the bill forward, and they now accuse leadership of violating these commitments.
The tension escalated when Freedom Caucus members and their allies joined forces with Democrats in voting against a rule that would have allowed several bills, including two addressing the Biden administration’s gas stove limitations, to reach the House floor. This marked the first time in two decades that a rules vote had failed.
Representative Matt Gaetz voiced his frustration, expressing concern that the fundamental commitments made to secure McCarthy’s speakership had been disregarded due to the debt limit deal. Gaetz also criticized the punishment meted out to Representative Andrew Clyde for his stance against the rule that allowed the debt limit increase.
According to reports from Fox News, Gaetz said, “I am very aggrieved at the punishment that was delivered to my colleague Andrew Clyde on his bill regarding pistol braces… for him standing with us and the votes we took against the rule that allowed the debt limit to be increased.”
Gaetz pledged to bring the House floor to a grinding halt, anticipating a prolonged shutdown.
“We took down the rule because we’re frustrated at the way this place is operating,” stated Rep. Gaetz. “We’re concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated as a consequence of the debt limit deal,” he added.
The era of the Imperial Speakership is OVER!
I’m done with their failure theater. https://t.co/Ceovz4C03U pic.twitter.com/7jNJpfRz4Z
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) June 6, 2023
The conservatives’ grievances extend beyond the procedural vote, with accusations that McCarthy has deviated from the undisclosed agreement made in January. Specific concessions that the dissident Republicans seek from McCarthy remain undisclosed, but they emphasize the need to restore unity and renegotiate their role within the party.
While McCarthy met with members of the Freedom Caucus, little progress was reported, and it remains uncertain if any votes will take place on the following day. The group insists that the restoration of a fair and inclusive process is essential to rectify the perceived failures of the previous week.
As the GOP leadership grapples with the repercussions of this internal standoff, the Republican majority’s effectiveness hangs in the balance. The path forward hinges on whether leadership is willing to reciprocate and address the concerns of the the dissenting group within the conservative ranks, ultimately determining the future of the party’s legislative agenda.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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