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Fauci says comments like Rep. Jim Jordan's are 'quite frustrating'

The Hill logo The Hill 4/18/2021 Joseph Choi
a person wearing a suit and tie sitting at a table: Dr. Anthony Fuaci © New York Times/Pool Dr. Anthony Fuaci

Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that combative comments like those from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who last week accused the nation's leading infectious diseases expert of promoting pandemic guidelines that violate Americans' "liberties," are "quite frustrating."

On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, host Dana Bash asked Fauci about Jordan's comments at a congressional hearing, noting that more than 40 percent of Republicans have said in a recent poll that they do not plan on getting vaccinated.

"You know, Dana, it is quite frustrating because the fact that one may not want to get vaccinated, in this case a disturbingly large proportion of Republicans, only actually works against where they want to be," Fauci said.

"They want to be able to say these restrictions that are put on by public health recommendations are things that they're very concerned about. We're all concerned about that. We share that concern. But the way you get rid of those restrictions is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible," he added.

"On the one hand, they want to be relieved of the restrictions. But on the other hand, they don't want to get vaccinated. It just almost doesn't make any sense," Fauci said.

Bash also asked Fauci if he would like to express any other frustrations regarding the hearing, noting he had been "quite restrained"

"No, no. I don't enjoy those kind of confrontations, but, I mean, it was very, very clear that he was talking about the liberties that were being restricted," Fauci said. "This has nothing to do with liberty, Dana. We're talking about the fact that 560,000 people in our country have died. We're talking about [60,000] to 70,000 new infections per day. That's the issue. This is a public health issue. It's not a civil liberties issue."

During the hearing last week, Jordan claimed that Americans' First Amendment rights have been "trampled" this past year and that people have been censored for disagreeing with Fauci.

"You're indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to hospital," Fauci replied. "We're not talking about liberties. We're talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans."


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