Some Americans have grown increasingly frustrated, if not even a little suspicious, of Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top adviser on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force. Critics cite his long tenure in the federal bureaucracy and a pandemic-response plan they believe does not adequately consider economic concerns.
As it turns out, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appears to be part of that camp. He recently raised questions about Fauci’s potential involvement in a federal grant awarded to a Chinese lab at the center of speculation surrounding the origins of COVID-19, the Washington Examiner reported.
According to the Examiner, Giuliani expressed his concerns on Sunday during an appearance on The Cats Roundtable podcast with host John Catsimatidis. The speculation came up as part of a conversation about the pandemic, lockdowns, and the growing push to reopen the nation’s economy.
“Something here is going on”
Shifting the focus to a lab in Wuhan, China that has been linked to potentially risky experiments and potentially the accidental release of COVID-19, Giuliani asserted Sunday that U.S. taxpayers had given millions of dollars to the facility.
“Back in 2014, the Obama administration prohibited the U.S. from giving any money to any laboratory, including in the U.S., that was fooling around with these viruses,” he said, according to the Examiner. “Prohibited!”
Linking Fauci to the claims, Giuliani said that the doctor “gave $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory — and then even after the State Department issued reports about how unsafe that laboratory was, and how suspicious they were in the way they were developing a virus that could be transmitted to humans, we never pulled that money.”
While proclaiming to the host that “something here is going on,” the former mayor went on to say that he does not “want to make any accusations” in publicly presenting his theories.
“Just think of it: If this laboratory turns out to be the place where the virus came from, we paid for it,” he said, the Examiner noted. “We paid for the damn virus that’s killing us.”
“What, are you asleep?”
As for what he would be doing if he were in a leadership role at the Department of Justice, the former federal prosecutor suggested taking a close look at the lab and the justification for any U.S. taxpayer dollars granted to support it.
“And I’d want to know, what did we know? How much did we know about how bad the practices were there? Who knew about it? And who sent them money anyway? And that person would sure as heck be in front of a grand jury trying to explain to me — what, are you asleep?” Giuliani said, according to the Examiner.
Fauci’s role remains unclear
The Examiner reported that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci has led since 1984, awarded $3.7 million in grants to a group known as EcoHealth Alliance to study the risks of “future coronavirus (CoV) emergence from wildlife using in-depth field investigations across the human-wildlife interface in China,” such as in the notorious wet markets.
The Wuhan lab reportedly only received a portion of those funds, which were spread out over the span of 2014 to 2019, and it is unclear how those funds were allocated or how much influence, if any, Fauci had over those decisions. The Examiner said about $700,000 of that sum was awarded after Trump became president.
Though Trump has publicly praised Fauci on several occasions, Giuliani is not alone among the president’s supporters in leveling criticism against the doctor, as The Hill reported.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham wrote in a tweet earlier this month that “Fauci should be deferring to the President when answering questions about [the] timing of economic reopening,” according to The Hill.