Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Newsmax on Thursday that "it’s laughable" for Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "to plead ignorance" about the Wuhan Institute for Virology receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Ernst, on "National Report," commented on her amendment to the Endless Frontiers Act that would prevent the Wuhan Institute of Virology from receiving U.S. taxpayer funding after Fauci confirmed during testimony before a House Appropriates subcommittee this week that the Wuhan institute was granted about $600,000 for use over the course of five years through the non-profit group EcoHealth Alliance, saying that it was to pay for "a modest collaboration with very respectable Chinese scientists who were world experts on coronavirus."
"This is very important because we have had taxpayer dollars going to fund research, unknown research, at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This was done through a grant process, through the NIH, which Dr. Fauci was a participant on, it was funneled to a non-profit organization that then went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology using American taxpayer dollars. We don't expect that our tax dollars will go to communist, red China to fund research, potentially research that could be very harmful to all Americans, and in this case, possibly harmful to all of the globe, so it's important that we end those dollars going to China, and that's exactly what what this amendment did, and surprisingly, and thankfully, it was unanimous."
She later added, "when we look at our American taxpayer dollars we want to know that they're going to research and development that will be beneficial to the American people. And certainly Dr. Fauci was heading an organization that was providing funding that went into red China. Again very, very alarming when we are trying to push back against Chinese influence all around the globe and certainly strengthen our own American institutions."
Ernst said, "So, for Dr. Fauci to plead ignorance on this issue, it's laughable. There was $600,000 that was funneled to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We know that, I raised the alarm bells about this over a year ago. It is finally now we have our Democratic colleagues [and] the Biden administration coming on board and understanding there may be more to this Wuhan institute than originally thought by folks on the left. But again, we have been sounding the alarm. We know that we should not be funding these types of projects especially with American taxpayer dollars."
When asked if Fauci should resign from his post, Ernst said, "I can't determine that. But what I can tell you, in my own opinion, is that he has become very politically polarizing. And so, that's not a good person, necessarily, to lead these types of institutions. You do need someone with a level of credibility with a scientific background, a research and development background [is] necessary, [but] they should be a-political, and we don't see that in this person with Dr. Fauci."
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