Editor's Note: This piece is updated to include a tweet from Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
As Katie covered, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made headlines for their back-and-forth on Tuesday during a congressional hearing where Dr. Fauci appeared before members of the Senate. Sen. Paul, who is also a doctor, pressed Fauci about the origins of the virus, funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and gain-of-function research. Despite being asked such crucial questions, Dr. Fauci behaved combatively. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) spoke to Townhall about how he believes "Fauci is not being forthcoming" on the issue.
The congressman said he "watched with great interest," and found the hearing to be "long and overdue." But there's a reason why the exchange between Drs. Fauci and Paul did not provide clarity. Fauci, Rep. Gallagher says, is "being a little too cute and a little evasive" when it comes to answering, and that he is looking for a "legalistic carefully crafted way to get out of this."
Gallagher highlighted this response from Fauci: "Dr. [Ralph] Baric does not do gain-of-function research and if it is, it's according to the guidelines and it is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China." It's not that money is given directly, though. Rather, funds were given as grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, which has had a partnership with that Wuhan lab. Rep. Gallagher offered that this is "teasing out the way in which money may have flowed out through a third party."
Even a piece from last August by Nature, which does not support the lab origin theory, acknowledged a connection:
EcoHealth Alliance and Daszak have been working with Shi Zhengli, a virologist at the WIV, for more than 15 years. Since 2014, an NIH grant has funded EcoHealth’s research in China, which involves collecting faeces and other samples from bats, and blood samples from people at risk of infection from bat-origin viruses. Scientific studies suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus most likely originated in bats, and research on the topic could be crucial to identifying other viruses that might cause future pandemics. The WIV is a subrecipient on the grant.
Gallagher also expressed concern that Daszak had "corrupted" the WHO investigation into the origin theories, as he was part of the team doing the investigation. That investigation has been thoroughly denounced, certainly because of the influence from China.
On Thursday, MIT Technology Review published a piece, "Top researchers are calling for a real investigation into the origin of covid-19," noting that the lab origin theory was once thought to be a conspiracy theory, but is now gaining ground.
Rep. Gallagher offered that "evidence is stacking up in favor of that hypothesis."
In that case, if one theory emerges as more likely the more we find out, we must demand to find out as much as we can.
When asked why more people aren't speaking up about this, Rep. Gallagher brought up the moniker Dr. Fauci has as the "godfather" of gain-of-function research. He also pointed to a 2011 op-ed co-authored by Dr. Fauci, which was published in the Washington Post, "A flu virus risk worth taking." The piece shows a favorable view toward gain-of-function.
The congressman suggested that people in the scientific community are hesitant to speak up because Fauci and the NIH controls the money and the grants, and that this could "have a chilling effect and torch your career."
While Dr. Fauci emphasized during Tuesday's hearing that he fully agrees with investigating origins of the virus, which is something the congressman says is necessary to take him up on, he has not been entirely committed to transparency. When it comes to a letter Rep. Gallagher wrote to Dr. Fauci in search of answers, which I've reported on in the past, the congressman says he has yet to hear back. As I wrote:
Here's where Rep. Gallagher comes in. The Washington Post, kudos to them, published a copy of a letter the congressman sent to Dr. Anthony Fauci, which references those findings and that fact-checking. Of his multiple questions that he requests answers to, many of them touch upon how much the United States scrutinized and knew about the Wuhan lab in question. One question asks, "In light of the Chinese Communist Party’s extensive coverup and lack of transparency, surrounding the origins of the pandemic, even to this day, how should the U.S. government modify or reconsider scientific exchanges with Chinese entities?"
The congressman shared that he is "encouraging the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to this," and notes that it is is "too important." He offered that there needs to be "some international investigation" into the matter, especially when it comes to concerns about a "WHO investigation corrupted by the Chinese Communist Party." Rep. Gallagher also pointed to the insight from Rutgers University's Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist who has spoken up against the "disinformation" from the WHO investigation. Specifically, the congressman wants to know why Dr. Fauci doesn't agree with Dr. Ebright.
When it comes to "declassify[ing] intelligence," the congressman is introducing legislation forcing the Biden administration to do just that.
Today I'm introducing a bill that would require the Biden Admin to declassify all intelligence surrounding WIV and COVID-19.— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) May 13, 2021
It's clear the CCP will only continue to stonewall these investigations. If we want answers, this may be the only way to get them. https://t.co/kF1CN5ZTr0
Rep. Gallagher emphasized that above all we need "full transparency, if for no other reason than to prevent [the virus] from happening again."