Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s outgoing chief medical adviser, on Sunday urged officials to “keep the politics out of” investigating the origins of COVID-19 in China.
Speaking with moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci said he is keeping an open mind, but he reiterated that the evidence is “quite strong” that the virus occurred naturally.
“They’re very suspicious of anybody trying to accuse them,” Fauci said of the Chinese government. “We need to have an open dialogue with their scientists and our scientists, keep the politics out of it.”
Republicans have indicated they plan to investigate the origins of the pandemic upon taking the House majority in January as well as Fauci himself, suggesting COVID-19 instead originated from a laboratory.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from BestReviews:
“All of my colleagues, keep an absolutely open mind,” Fauci said on CBS. “We’ve got to investigate every possibility because this is too important not to do that. That’s not incompatible with saying the scientific evidence still weighs much more strongly that this is a natural occurrence. You must keep your mind open that it’s something other than that.”
But Fauci pushed back on the notion that the Chinese Communist Party covered up the pandemic’s origins.
“Not necessarily the scientists that we know and we have dealt with and collaborated with productively for decades, but the whole establishment — a political and other establishment in China, even when there’s nothing at all to hide — they act secretive, which absolutely triggers an appropriate suspicion,” Fauci said.
He went on to criticize former President Trump’s accusatory comments against China during the early months of the pandemic, although Fauci acknowledged a need for more data.
“What happens is that if you look at the anti-China approach, that clearly the Trump administration had right from the very beginning, and the accusatory nature, the Chinese are going to flinch back and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, we’re not going to talk to you about it,’ which is not correct. They should be,” Fauci told Brennan.