WASHINGTON, D.C. During today’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing, Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.) set the record straight on concrete actions President Trump has taken to contain COVID-19 and save American lives. While Democrats pushed a false political agenda in an effort to take down President Trump rather than doing anything to contribute to protecting American lives, Whip Scalise focused on the issues Americans care about — reopening schools, COVID-proofing nursing homes, and the decision-making process in President Trump’s White House.

During his question period with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci repeatedly confirmed that decisions President Trump took at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis were informed by science and saved countless American lives.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the importance of reopening schools this fall, emphasizing that “I think it’s important to realize that it’s in the public health best interest of K-12 students to get back in face-to-face learning.”

Finally, Admiral Brett Giroir, the Assistant Secretary for Health overseeing nationwide testing efforts, confirmed to Whip Scalise the Trump Administration plans to deliver thousands of rapid testing machines to nursing homes across the country, and lamented the decision of governors, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to return infectious COVID-19 patients to nursing homes — a policy that was in direct opposition to federal guidance and resulted in the needless deaths of thousands of American seniors.
Scalise Questions Dr. Fauci

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Transcript:

Whip Scalise: Dr. Fauci, let me ask you about some of the decisions that you worked with President Trump on, and the whole team did. I know when you go back to the beginning of this, the China ban was very heavily discussed. Were you involved in working with President Trump on deciding to ban flights from China?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, sir. I was.

Whip Scalise: Do you agree with that decision?

Dr. Fauci: I do.

Whip Scalise: Do you think that decision saved lives, Dr. Fauci?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, I do.

Whip Scalise: Do you agree with the decision when ultimately, we saw [COVID-19] spreading in Europe, and the President recommended that we extend [the travel ban] to Europe. Did you participate in that discussion?

Dr. Fauci: I was actively involved in that discussion, sir.

Whip Scalise: Do you agree with that decision?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, I do.

Whip Scalise: Do you think that decision saved lives?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, I do.

Whip Scalise: Eventually, then we saw the United Kingdom have an outbreak and there had to be a tough decision made. Did we extend that to the United Kingdom? Were you a part of that decision?

Dr. Fauci: I was.

Whip Scalise: And do you agree with that decision as well?

Dr. Fauci: I do.

Whip Scalise: Did that decisions save lives?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, it did.

Whip Scalise: When you look at the ’15 Days to Slow the Spread.’ Initially it started at 15. Were you part of the decision to implement that decision?

Dr. Fauci: I was very much involved in that.

Whip Scalise: Did that decision save lives, Dr. Fauci?

Dr. Fauci: I believe it did.

Whip Scalise: Then when President Trump met with you and Dr. Birx to extend that another 30 days, do you agree with that decision President Trump made to extend that?

Dr. Fauci: Yes, I was very much involved, and I agree with it.

Whip Scalise: Did that decision save lives, Dr. Fauci?

Dr. Fauci: I believe it did.

Whip Scalise: So, I know we’ve heard a lot about disagreements. Clearly there are many decisions made. In fact, there are many very internationally respected doctors that are involved in each of those decisions. Is that correct?

Dr. Fauci: Yes.

Whip Scalise: By and large, would you say that you and President Trump have been in agreement on most of those decisions?

Dr. Fauci: We’re in agreement on virtually all of those.

Scalise Questions Dr. Redfield

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Transcript:

Whip Scalise: Now, Dr. Redfield, I want to talk to you about reopening schools. I know you’ve been very involved in this. The CDC has put out multiple documents of guidance for safely reopening schools. Here: checklists for parents, checklists for teachers, guidance for K-12 school administrators on the use of cloth face masks in schools. I know some people want to make that controversial, this is President Trump’s plan, part of his plan, to safely reopening schools. It talks about the use of masks. Here you’ve got school decision making tool for parents, caregivers, and guardians. Are these all parts of the President’s plan to safely reopen schools?

Dr. Redfield: Yes.

Whip Scalise: Have you been involved in developing that with President Trump?

Dr. Redfield: Yes.

Whip Scalise: Do you think that schools should safely reopen this fall with in-person learning?

Dr. Redfield: Yes, I think it’s important to realize that it’s in the public health best interest of K-12 students to get back in face-to-face learning. There’s really very significant public health consequences of the school closure.

Whip Scalise: For example, they lack the ability to detect child abuse that occurs and is detected often in schools. Do you know how much child abuse will not be detected if children aren’t returning to the school?

Dr. Redfield: Clearly, we’re seeing less reporting of it and again, I think it’s a direct consequence of the school closures. 7.1 million kids get their mental health services at schools, they get nutritional support as we mentioned from schools. We’re seeing an increase in drug use disorder as well as suicide in the adolescent individuals. So, I do think it’s really important to realize it’s not public health versus the economy about school opening, its public health versus public health of the K-12 [students] to get these schools open. We’ve got to do it safely and we’ve got to be able to accommodate.

Whip Scalise: Well, I appreciate that, and I know we’re out of time. I hope that these school systems follow President Trump and these great medical doctors’ guidance and help those kids by safely reopening.

Scalise Questions Admiral Giroir


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Transcript:

Whip Scalise: Now I want to ask you, Admiral Giroir, on the testing that you’ve been involved in to help carry out parts of President Trump’s plan — you just talked about over a million testing machines, 15-minute machines, that will be brought into nursing homes across the country. I know ultimately it’s going to be 15,000, I’m sorry, over a thousand machines that are going to be delivered already — is that plan in place and moving forward based on President Trump’s guidance?

Admiral Giroir: It is.

Whip Scalise: And that money was, in part, taken from the CARES Act — the bill we worked with President Trump to pass in a bipartisan way through this Congress — is that correct?

Admiral Giroir: Yes sir, that’s correct.

Whip Scalise: And I’ve heard, specifically from nursing home directors, who have told me that this decision will save more lives in nursing homes. Have you heard the same?

Admiral Giroir: There’s no question, I don’t think any single decision has had more positive feedback than that.

Whip Scalise: And I know early on CMS put out guidance back in March, these were just part of the many guidelines that CMS put out, on guidance to prevent COVID spread in nursing homes. We know that 45 governors followed this guidance. Five governors did not follow this guidance and we saw in those states tens of thousands of seniors in nursing homes die who shouldn’t have died. If this guidance was followed by those governors, do you think they would have saved more lives?

Admiral Giroir: As I testified here before, I think it’s a very concerning practice to send an infectious person back to a nursing home.

Whip Scalise: Well, thank you, and I wish those governors would have followed that guidance that President Trump’s team put out as part of a major overall plan.