(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) While making the rounds on Sunday morning talk shows as part of his retirement farewell tour, former COVID czar Anthony Fauci acknowledged that China’s behavior surrounding the origin of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic was highly “suspicious.”
But during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, he stopped short of assigning any blame for the likely lab leak of research that he helped fund at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, claiming instead that such behavior was par for the course in dealing with the Asian superpower.
“Even when there’s nothing to hide, they act in a suspicious, non-transparent way,” Fauci said, according to Politico.
His latest exercise in equivocation comes as GOP-led investigations in the U.S. House will likely examine the role Fauci’s support for gain-of-function research may have played in the development of the virus and any vested interest he may have had in giving preferential treatment to leading pharmaceutica companies while stigmatizing readily available alternative therapies.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who is expected to chair the House Oversight Committee, preceded Fauci on the program and outlined some of the areas of concern he planned to examine.
Fauci also was subjected to a seven-hour deposition last Wednesday in a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, who alleged that he and other government officials colluded with Big Tech oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg to push propaganda while burying negative stories.
During the interrogation, Fauci, the out-going director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, admitted to knowing that most masks were ineffective in preventing virus transmission, even while pushing for more stringent mandates, Slay News reported.
But in his media appearances, Fauci has continued to avoid giving direct answers. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre scolded three reporters last week for pressing him about the origin of COVID in a press briefing.
On Sunday, Fauci was in much friendlier company with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, who assisted his efforts to get in front of the narrative by lobbing softballs with minimal follow-up.
Fauci, whose publicly available emails show he solicited help in shooting down early discussion about the Wuhan lab’s role in creating the virus, insisted that he was an open book when it came to discussing the virus’s origin.
“I have a completely open mind about that, despite people saying that I don’t,” he claimed.
In a surprise turn of events, Fauci also criticized the Chinese government for its continued and strict response to the virus.
“Their approach has been very, very severe and rather draconian in the kinds of shutdowns without a seeming purpose,” Fauci said.
While Fauci is certainly correct about the terrible state of China in the midst of their latest round of lockdowns, he was still defending the foreign nation as recently as March 2022.
“You know, I don’t want to create any, or mention any, disparaging remarks about that, but the Chinese are very closed, in a way of being reluctant—particularly when you have a disease that evolves in their country,” he said.
“I think they were very concerned and maybe embarrassed that the virus evolved from their country—but there’s nothing wrong with that,” he added. “So when they see something evolving in their own country they tend to have a natural reflex of not necessarily covering things up but not being very open and transparent.”
At that time Fauci concluded by praising lockdowns for their efficacy: “Lockdowns, they certainly prevented a lot of infections.”
Of course, he certainly has some interest in boosting China, especially given the recent grant he gave to the same company which caused the Wuhan lab leak in the first place.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.