Speed Reads

'You're putting words in my mouth'

Jim Jordan tries and fails to get Fauci to say protesters should be arrested for gathering during pandemic

Dr. Anthony Fauci wants to make it clear he's got nothing to do with the justice system.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared before Congress on Friday for a hearing on the federal government's coronavirus response. That's where Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who's been skeptical of restrictions meant to stem the virus' spread, tried to get Fauci to distinguish between protests against racism in the U.S. and bans on businesses reopening amid the pandemic.

Because science indicates crowds exacerbate the spread of coronavirus, Jordan asked Fauci on Friday if the government "should limit the protests." "I'm not in a position to determine what the government should do in a forceful way," Fauci responded. So Jordan kept pressing: "The government is stopping people from going to church," claiming that's something "the five liberals" on the Supreme Court had decided. But Fauci continued holding out, saying he does not "judge one crowd versus another crowd" and would not "opine on who should get arrested or not. That's not my position."

Jordan then went so far as to claim Fauci had said "protests increase the spread" of coronavirus. "I said crowds, I didn't say specifically, I didn't say protests or anything, " Fauci firmly responded. "You're putting words in my mouth," Fauci continued before saying he had no data showing the nationwide protests had spread the virus. Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk