‘Do You See The Inconsistency?’ Jim Jordan Grills Fauci On Protests, Church During Pandemic

Fauci: "I’m not favoring anybody over anybody."

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 29: Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) speaks during an Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee hearing on "Online platforms and market power. Examining the dominance of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple" on Capitol Hill on July 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Graeme Jennings - Pool/Getty Images)
Graeme Jennings – Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Jim Jordan grilled Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday about the spread of COVID-19, particularly among protesters, and the unequal treatment of protests, churches, and businesses throughout the pandemic.

Jordan (R-OH) asked Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, if he thought the government should crack down on protests similar to how the government has banned churches from congregating or businesses from operating. After admitting that crowds of people increase the chance of spreading the disease, Fauci demurred on whether the government should ban protests.

“I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way,” Fauci said.

“Well, you make all kinds of recommendations. You make comments on dating, on baseball, on everything you can imagine. I’m just asking, you just said protests increase the spread. I’m just asking should we try to limit the protest?” Jordan pressed.

“Government is stopping people from going to church, Dr. Fauci. Last week, in the Calvary Chapel case, five liberals on the Supreme Court said is was okay for Nevada to limit church services. Justice Gorsuch said it best, he said ‘there is 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?” Jordan continued.

“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,” Fauci said. “I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd. When you’re in a crowd, particularly when you are not wearing a mask, that induces spread.”

Jordan brought up the case of Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, who co-own a gym in New Jersey. Both men were arrested earlier this week after opening their business up in violation of state health mandates and refusing to shut down again for weeks. Jordan asked Fauci if the doctor saw a double standard in the way governments have treated business owners versus mass protests.

“Do you see the inconsistency, though, Dr. Fauci?” Jordan asked.

Fauci answered, “There’s no inconsistency, congressman.”

Jordan continued to press Fauci on what the government’s stance toward protests should be given that other activities guaranteed by the First Amendment, such as religious practice, are being stifled. The health official continued to refuse to take a position on the protests.

President Trump later praised Jordan for the exchange, as well as Fauci for his appearance in Congress.

“Great job by Jim Jordan, and also some very good statements by Tony Fauci. Big progress being made!” Trump tweeted.

Below is a transcript of Jordan and Fauci’s exchange:

Jordan: Do protests increase the spread of the virus?

Fauci: Do protests increase the spread of the virus? I think I can make a general statement.

J: Half a million protesters on June 6 alone, I’m asking that number of people, does it increase the spread of the virus?

F: Yeah, crowding together, particularly when you are not wearing a mask, contributes to the spread of the virus.

J: Should we limit the protesting?

F: I’m not sure what you mean. How do we say “limit the protesting?”

J: Does the government limit the protesting?

F: I don’t think that’s relevant to-

J: Well, you just said if it increases the spread of the virus. I’m just asking if we should limit it.

F: Well, I’m not in a position to determine what the government can do in a forceful way.

J: Well, you make all kinds of recommendations. You make comments on dating, on baseball, on everything you can imagine. I’m just asking, you just said protests increase the spread. I’m just asking should we try to limit the protest?

F: I think I would leave that to people who have more of a position to do that. I can tell you-

J: Government is stopping people from going to church Dr. Fauci. Last week, in the Calvary Chapel case five liberals on the Supreme Court said is was okay for Nevada to limit church services. Justice Gorsuch said it best, he said “there is 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?

F: 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 when you are not wearing a mask, that induces spread.

J: It’s a simple question, doctor. Should we limit the protests? Government is obviously limiting people going to church, and, look, there has 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 for 63 days, nine weeks its been happening in Portland. One night in Chicago, 49 officers were injured. No limit to protest but, boy, you can’t go to church on Sunday.

F: I don’t know how many times I can answer that I am not going to opine on limiting anything, I’m just going to tell you-

J: You’ve opined on a lot of things, Dr. Fauci.this is something that directly impacts the spread of the virus and I’m asking your position on the protests.

F: Yeah, 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.

J: Government has stopped people from going to work. In fact, just in New Jersey four days ago Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti were arrested for opening up, for 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 were working out in there gym were outside protesting they would have been just fine, but because they were in the gym, working out, actually running their business, they got arrested. You think that’s okay?

F: You know, I’m not going to opine 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-

J: Do you see the inconsistency, though, Dr. Fauci?

F: There’s no inconsistency, congressman.

J: 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 that same business and protested you wouldn’t get arrested? You don’t see an inconsistency there?

F: I don’t understand what you are asking me as a public health official to opine on who should get arrested or not. That’s not my position. You can ask as much as you want and I’m not going to answer it.

J: You’ve advocated for certain businesses to be shut down, I’m just asking you on your position on the protests. We’ve hear a lot about hair salons. I haven’t seen one hair stylist, who between hair cuts, goes out and attacks police and sets something on fire, But we’ve seen all kinds of that stuff during protests, and we know that protests actually increase the spread of the virus. You’ve said that.

F: I said crowds. I didn’t say specifically, I didn’t say protests do anything.

J: So the protests don’t increase the spread of the virus?

F: I didn’t say that. You’re putting words in my mouth.

J: I just want an answer to the question. Do the protests increase the spread of the virus?

F: 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.

J: So you don’t have a position on whether protests increase the spread of the virus or don’t increase the spread of the virus?

F: I’m saying that crowds, wherever the crowds are, can give you an increased probability that there is going to be acquisition and transmission of it.

J: But do you understand Americans’ 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.

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