The Perfect Enemy | White House shuts down reporter’s Fauci question on COVID origin: ‘I’m done’
December 3, 2022
Read Time:2 Minute

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre snapped at reporters who raised questions about the origins of COVID-19 during Tuesday’s press briefing, which featured outgoing White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci

During questions after the White House coronavirus response team updated reporters on the administration’s vaccine efforts, Daily Caller White House correspondent Diana Glebova attempted to ask a question regarding what Fauci has done to investigate the origins of COVID-19. But Jean-Pierre shut Glebova down and rebuked her for speaking out of turn.

“We have a process here. I’m not calling out on people who yell. And you’re being … disrespectful to your colleagues, and you’re being disrespectful to our guest,” Jean-Pierre said. “I will not call on you if you yell, and also you’re taking time off the clock because Dr. Fauci has to leave in a couple of minutes.”

When Glebova objected, Jean-Pierre said she was “done” and was “not getting into a back-and-forth with you.”

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tells reporters to not shout questions during a briefing with White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha during a briefing on COVID-19 at the White House on Nov. 22, 2022. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks alongside White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha during a briefing on COVID-19 at the White House on Nov. 22, 2022.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks alongside White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, and COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha during a briefing on COVID-19 at the White House on Nov. 22, 2022. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Getty Images/File)

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Then Today News Africa journalist Simon Ateba spoke up and said her question was valid and should be asked. 

“You need to call people across the room. She has a valid question, she’s asked about the origin of COVID,” Ateba said.

“It is not your turn,” Jean-Pierre shot back. “I hear your question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it. This is disrespectful … Simon, I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you right now. You’re taking time away from your colleagues.”

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, and Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, speak during a news conference at the White House on Nov. 22, 2022.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, and Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, speak during a news conference at the White House on Nov. 22, 2022. (Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fauci, who will step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in December, has faced questions from Republican lawmakers over his agency’s support for coronavirus research in China

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NIAID has provided millions of dollars in grant funding to EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit group that GOP critics claim has supported bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers interested in the lab-leak origins theory of COVID-19 want to probe whether that research was the genesis of the pandemic and whether Fauci played any role in approving money that was sent to the Wuhan lab.