Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infections disease expert, resisted a directive from President Trump to cancel a research grant for a non-profit that was linked to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to a new book detailing the Trump administration’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump issued a directive to Fauci and the National Institutes of Health in April 2020 to cut funding for a study examining how coronaviruses jump from infected bats to humans after it was reportedly linked to the lab in Wuhan, suspected of having leaked the virus.
The exchange between Fauci and the White House is detailed in an upcoming book by Washington Post reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta called “Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History,” according to Fox News.
The study’s sponsor, EcoHealth Alliance, was then told to end the remaining $369,819 balance of its 2020 grant.
According to the book, on April 2020, Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins received notice that Trump wanted to cancel the grant. Fauci and Collins resisted, telling the White House they “were not sure the NIH actually had the authority to terminate a peer-reviewed grant in the middle of a budget cycle.”
“The HHS general counsel told them to do it anyway and made clear it was a direct order from the president, implying that their jobs were on the line if they didn’t comply. Fauci and Collins reluctantly agreed to cancel the grant,” an excerpt of the book reads.
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