Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that President Barack Obama is not responsible for the current administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) began his questioning of public health experts by noting that the Trump administration’s testing plan is “nothing to celebrate.”
“I understand politicians are going to frame data in a way that is most positive politically,” Romney explained. “But of course, I don’t expect that from admirals. But yesterday you celebrated that we have done more tests and more tests per capita even than South Korea.”
The senator continued: “But you ignored the fact that they accomplished theirs at the beginning of the outbreak while we treaded water during February and March. And as a result, by March 6, the U.S. had completed just 2,000 tests, whereas South Korea had conducted more than 140,000 tests.”
Romney went on to note that South Korea has experienced 256 deaths compared with over 80,000 deaths in the United States.
“I find our testing record nothing to celebrate,” Romney insisted. “The fact is their test numbers are going down, down, down, down now because they don’t have the kind of outbreak we have. Ours are going up, up, up.”
The Republican senator then directed a question to Fauci.
“Where I’m critical of what we’ve done on testing; on vaccines, we’ve done a pretty darn good job,” Romney told Fauci. “And yet, the president said the other day that President Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine.”
“Dr. Fauci, is President Obama or by extension President Trump, did he do something that made creating a vaccine less likely? Are either President Obama or President Trump responsible for the fact that we don’t have a vaccine?” Romney asked.
“Not at all,” Fauci replied. “Certainly President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for not having a vaccine.”