FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Breitbart News that she is “livid” with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and reiterated her call for Fauci to resign his position over funding his office provided to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Blackburn also said she would question Fauci on whether the Chinese Communist Party — whose talking points she said he was echoing over the course of the pandemic — may have “intentionally” leaked the coronavirus from the lab, by far the furthest any U.S. senator has gone in questioning the CCP’s culpability and responsibility for the pandemic.
‘We are the government and we are here to help’
“Federal employees are supposed to give accurate information, and what we now know is that Dr. Fauci was fully aware that there were problems with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and that it should have been investigated, and that he is fully aware that in 2014 President Obama started sending funds to the lab — or Dr. Fauci through the Obama administration started sending funds over there,” Blackburn said in an exclusive long-form video interview as part of Breitbart News’s On The Hill series here at Puckett’s, a supermarket, restaurant, and live music venue at which many of Nashville’s biggest country stars have performed.
Fauci’s office, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over the course of several years provided hundreds-of-thousands of U.S. taxpayer dollars through intermediaries to the WIV. Fauci’s office was set to provide what would have amounted to more than $1.5 million total to the lab through intermediaries, but in spring 2020, as the pandemic raged worldwide, pulled the plug — days after an email from NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak to Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins. Other grants uncovered by Congress show funding also came through intermediaries to the Wuhan lab from other parts of the federal government, like the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development.
On a bipartisan basis this week, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee adopted language from Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) to ban such funding in the future.
Blackburn noted in the interview that funding for the Wuhan lab came “right from the NIAID, which is [Fauci’s] agency.” Then she noted that Fauci’s emails, obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, show he was privately concerned about this funding and research being conducted at the lab with backing of U.S. taxpayer dollars, but that Fauci did not raise these concerns publicly or with then-President Donald Trump and and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Pence led the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force last year, heading up the U.S. response to the pandemic.
“President Trump told him to stop it and he didn’t stop it,” Blackburn alleged. “President Trump said you cut this out or it’s your job. So, supposedly, he cut it out. Now, who all did he tell he had concerns over an engineered virus and gain of function research? He didn’t tell Congress. He didn’t tell the American people. How much of that information did he give to the president? How much did he give to Vice President Pence and the COVID response team?”
Blackburn has previously called for Fauci to resign, and Fauci responded to her by appearing on Meet The Press with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to claim any criticisms of him are attacks on science itself. Blackburn replied to that with her own fact-check of Fauci, and now in this interview she is tripling down on her demand that Fauci resign and come clean. She also accused Fauci of using Chinese Communist Party talking points about the pandemic.
“So, he needs to step aside, and he needs to come to Congress, and he needs to answer these questions,” Blackburn told Breitbart News. “He needs to talk about the lab leak theory. ‘Why did you downplay that Dr. Fauci? Why did you have the very same talking points that the Chinese Communist Party had when they were talking about the Wuhan lab?’”
Blackburn continued with several more questions she has for Fauci, including whether the Chinese Communist Party deliberately let the coronavirus spread around the world and whether any potential lab leak was, in fact, “intentional.” Blackburn in the interview pointed to the CCP blocking travel internally inside China from Hubei Province, the home of Wuhan, but allowing people to leave Hubei Province to other places around the world. The virus quickly found its way to Italy, the first and only G7 country to join the CCP’s Belt and Road Initiative, where workers from Wuhan are based as part of the international deal with China. From there, the rest of Europe was hit hard and eventually the virus found its way worldwide, including to U.S. shores. Wuhan’s mayor, Zhou Xianwang, admitted in January 2020, as Breitbart News previously reported, that at least five million people left the city before it imposed a lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich also told Breitbart News at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 — while his wife Callista was serving as Trump’s ambassador to the Holy See and both of them were locked down in Italy — that the first people in Italy to have the virus were Chinese workers who traveled back to Italy from Wuhan.
“‘Why did it not concern you when they locked down Hubei Province, which is where Wuhan is located, and said people from Wuhan, you cannot go anywhere else in China, but, you know, go out to the airport get on an airplane and fly anywhere else in the world you want to go?’” Blackburn asked. “‘Was the Chinese Communist Party trying to spread this virus? Was that intentional? Was the lab leak intentional? Were you not concerned when you became aware that the virus inside the lab and the virus that was being found in individuals was not the same as the virus from the Hunan wet market? Did you not raise this issue?’ There are all these questions that Dr. Fauci needs to answer and you see the disparities and discrepancies and the lack of being a forthcoming person — you see it in these emails. He said one thing to his colleagues and to Facebook, and he said another thing to the American people and the U.S. House and Senate.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) sent a team in early 2021 to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the virus, and in a 120-page study published afterwards concluded that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely.” The study did not consider the possibility of an intentional release of the virus. But in recent weeks, the lab leak theory has surged back to the forefront as a variety of scientists, political leaders, and pundits have grown more open to the possibility in the wake of news reports from places like the Wall Street Journal about the origins of the virus.
What is more, Blackburn added that Fauci “absolutely” had plenty of opportunities to be forthcoming about these concerns given how active he was in the public sphere doing countless interviews and events with lawmakers and even sports stars like NBA player Steph Curry. Blackburn also said that U.S. officials apparently deleted a “genetic sequence” from American databases at the behest of Chinese scientists, something she also wants Fauci to answer for.
“Now we’re finding out that there was a genetic sequence—a gene sequence—that was deleted from an American database at the request of the Chinese scientist who was working on the coronavirus family of viruses,” Blackburn said. “Now this, we need to know who was in collaboration on this. Who was the virologist? Who gave the permission at the NIH to remove this? Once we got into a pandemic did you not think to go back to the virologist who said ‘oh you need to take this out of the database’ and say ‘hey can you help us with this, something’s not right here?’”
Blackburn concluded by noting that the U.S. tax dollars used at this lab funded through Fauci’s office entitle Americans to answers for the loss of life and livelihood experienced through the pandemic, saying she is “livid” over all of it.
“See, that was taxpayer — U.S. taxpayer — money that was being used in that lab,” Blackburn said. “We have over 600,000 Americans that have lost their lives. We have tens-of-thousands of families that have been affected because someone was sick. We have loss of livelihood and society has gone through such an upheaval. We have children that have lost a year of schooling and now have emotional problems. People don’t want to ask Dr. Fauci why he didn’t come forward with this information? I am on behalf of every Tennessean, I am just livid with the fact that people could think this is okay — that people could think this is okay with the tax dollars that went in there to help fund that, that they think it is okay that the guy who ran this agency could not tell the truth to the American people. We deserve the answers because we have paid his salary and have paid for this research.”
More from Blackburn’s exclusive interview is forthcoming.