White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre snapped at reporters who spoke during Tuesday’s news briefing, which was attended by outgoing White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who attended, asked questions about the origin of COVID-19.
During questions after the White House coronavirus response team briefed reporters on the government’s vaccination efforts, Daily Caller’s White House correspondent Diana Glebova attempted to ask a question about what Fauci did to trace the origins of COVID-19 investigate. But Jean-Pierre closed Glebova and rebuked her for speaking out of turn.
“We have a process here. I don’t call people who scream. And you are … disrespectful to your colleagues and you are disrespectful to our guest,” said Jean-Pierre. “I won’t call you if you scream, and besides, you’re taking time off because Dr. Fauci has to go in a few minutes.”
When Glebova objected, Jean-Pierre said she was “done” and “don’t get into a back and forth with you.”
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Then Simon Ateba, journalist for Today News Africa, spoke up and said her question was valid and should be asked.
“You have to call people all over the room. She has a valid question, she asked about the origin of COVID,” Ateba said.
“It’s not your turn,” Jean-Pierre shot back. “I hear your question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it. That’s disrespectful… Simon, I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you now. You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”
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Fauci, who will step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in December, has faced questions from Republican lawmakers about his agency’s support for coronavirus research in China.
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NIAID has given millions of dollars in grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit group that critics of the GOP claim supported bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic provided. Lawmakers interested in the theory behind the origins of lab leaks in COVID-19 want to investigate whether that research was the genesis of the pandemic and whether Fauci played a role in approving money sent to the Wuhan lab.