Jul 31, 2020
Rep. Jim Jordan Questions Dr. Fauci About COVID-19 & Protests Transcript: House Coronavirus Hearing July 31
Rep. Jim Jordan questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci about COVID-19 transmission at nationwide protests during the House coronavirus hearing on July 31. Read the transcript here.
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Representative Jordan: (00:00)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Fauci, do protests increase the spread of the virus?
Dr. Fauci: (00:06)
Do protest increase the spread of the virus? I think I can make a general statement.
Representative Jordan: (00:11)
Half a million protestors on June 6th alone. I’m just asking that number of people, does it increase the spread of the virus?
Dr. Fauci: (00:16)
Crowding together, particularly when you’re not wearing a mask, contributes to the spread of the virus.
Representative Jordan: (00:23)
Should we limit the protesting?
Dr. Fauci: (00:25)
I’m not sure what you mean. How do we say limit the protesting?
Representative Jordan: (00:29)
Should government limit the protesting?
Dr. Fauci: (00:33)
I don’t think that’s relevant to-
Representative Jordan: (00:36)
Well, you just said, if it increases the spread of the virus, I’m just asking, should we limit it?
Dr. Fauci: (00:40)
Well, I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way.
Representative Jordan: (00:44)
Well, you make all kinds of recommendations. You made comments on dating, on baseball and everything you can imagine. I’m just asking you. You just said protest increased the spread. I’m just asking you should we try to limit the protests?
Dr. Fauci: (00:53)
No, I think I would leave that to people who have more of an position to do that. I can tell you that-
Representative Jordan: (00:59)
Government’s stopping people from going to church, Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci: (01:02)
Representative Jordan: (01:03)
Last week in the Calvary Chapel case, five liberals on the Supreme Court said it was okay for Nevada to limit church services. Justice Gorsuch said it best. He said there’s no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesar’s Palace over Calvary chapel. I’m just asking, is there a world where the Constitution says you can favor one First Amendment liberty, protesting, over another, practicing your faith?
Dr. Fauci: (01:27)
I’m not favoring anybody over anybody. I’m just making a statement that’s a broad statement, that avoid crowds of any type no matter where you are because that leads to the acquisition and transmission. And I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd. When you’re in a crowd, particularly if you’re not wearing a mask, that induces the spread.
Representative Jordan: (01:49)
It’s a simple question, Doctor. Should we limit the protests? Government is obviously limiting people going to church. And look, there’s been no violence that I can see at church. I haven’t seen people during a church service go out and harm police officers or burn buildings. But we know that, I mean, for 63 days, nine weeks, it’s been happening in Portland. One night in Chicago, 49 officers were injured, but no limit to protests, but boy, you can’t go to church on Sunday.
Dr. Fauci: (02:18)
I don’t know how many times I can answer that. I’m not going to opine on limiting anything. I’m just going to tell you-
Representative Jordan: (02:23)
You’ve opined on a lot of things, Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci: (02:25)
Yeah, but I’ve never said to limit anything.
Representative Jordan: (02:26)
This is something that directly impacts the spread of the virus, and I’m asking your position on the protest.
Dr. Fauci: (02:31)
Well, I’m not going to opine on limiting anything. I’m telling you what it is, the danger, and you can make your own conclusion about that. You should stay away from crowds no matter where the crowds are.
Representative Jordan: (02:44)
Government has stopped people from going to work. In fact, just in New Jersey four days ago, Ian Smith, Frank Trumbetti were arrested for opening up from trying to operate their business, their gym. They were arrested. But my bet is if these two individuals who owned this gym were outside just in front of their gym and all the people who are working out in their gym were outside protesting, they’d been just fine, but because they were in the gym working out, actually running their business, they got arrested. You think that’s okay?
Dr. Fauci: (03:16)
I’m not going to opine it on who gets arrested and who does not. I mean, you get where I’m going? I’m telling you as a public health official. I say crowds-
Representative Jordan: (03:25)
Do you see the inconsistency, though, Dr. Fauci?
Dr. Fauci: (03:27)
There’s no inconsistency, Congressman.
Representative Jordan: (03:30)
So you’re allowed to protest millions of people on one day in crowds, yelling, screaming, but you try to run your business, you get arrested. And if you stood right outside of that same business and protested, you wouldn’t get arrested. You don’t see an inconsistency there?
Dr. Fauci: (03:42)
I don’t understand what you’re asking me as a public health official to opine on who should get arrested or not. That’s not my position. You could ask me as much as you want and I’m not going to answer it.
Representative Jordan: (03:52)
You’ve advocated for certain businesses. You’ve advocated for certain businesses to be shut down. I’m just asking you on your position on the protest. I haven’t seen one. We’ve heard a lot about hair salons. I haven’t seen one hairstylist who between haircuts goes out and attacks police or sets something on fire, but we’ve seen all kinds of that stuff during protests. And we know the protest actually increase the spread of the virus. You’ve said that.
Dr. Fauci: (04:16)
I said crowds. I didn’t say specifically, I didn’t say protests do anything.
Representative Jordan: (04:21)
So the protests don’t increase the spread of the virus?
Dr. Fauci: (04:23)
I didn’t say that. You’re putting words in my mouth.
Representative Jordan: (04:26)
I just want an answer to the question. Do the protests increase the spread of the virus?
Dr. Fauci: (04:30)
I don’t have any scientific evidence that anything I can tell you that crowds are known, particularly when you don’t have a mask, to increase the acquisition and transmission, no matter what the crowd is.
Representative Jordan: (04:41)
So you don’t have a position on whether the protests increased the spread of the virus or don’t increase the spread of the virus?
Dr. Fauci: (04:48)
I’m saying that crowds, wherever the crowds are, can give you an increased probability that is going to be acquisition and transmission.
Representative Jordan: (04:57)
But do you understand American’s concern? Protesting, particularly according to the Democrats is just fine, but you can’t go to work. You can’t go to school. You can’t go to church. There’s limits placed on all three of those fundamental activities, First Amendment activities, but protesting is just fine.
Mr. Clyburn: (05:17)
The gentleman’s time has expired.