"An undeniable asset": Psaki defends Fauci, says he still has Biden's confidence

“Undeniable” is a strong word, Jen.

How about we compromise and settle on “occasional”? He was an occasional asset.

Like, I’d say this news from early last year counts pretty heavily in the “asset” column.

In the “liability” column, we’ll place, oh, around 97 percent of his media appearances. And maybe that grant money to EcoHealth Alliance, part of which was redirected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Psaki was asked about his newly revealed emails this afternoon and whether any of them have shaken Biden’s confidence in him. Nope, she said. He’s done an incredible job:

She was asked again later. No qualms about anything in those emails? Nuh uh. He’s an … undeniable asset:

I’ll happily deny that he’s an asset on carrying the administration’s message. So will Noah Rothman, who writes today at Commentary that it’s time for Fauci to stop talking:

Abandoning his reticence to speculate, Fauci said that he still believed the “most likely” origin of this disease was zoonotic, though he was open to the “lab leak” hypothesis. And yet, the doctor maintained that it was not in China’s interest to unleash COVID-19 on the planet. “The idea, I think, is quite far-fetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves, as well as other people,” Fauci insisted. “I think that’s a bit far out.” Indeed, it would be, which is why few serious observers are alleging anything like that.

Although still uttered only in hushed tones, what is being alleged is that valuable and necessary “gain-of-function” research partly funded by the U.S. government to identify mutation rates and replication in infectious diseases and, thus, suppress their spread escaped from a Wuhan-based research facility accidentally. That’s hardly outside the realm of conceivability…

The notion that China deliberately engineered a bug designed to kill rather than inadvertently designed a bug that could kill is an effort to reframe the terms of debate to be more favorable to Fauci and, oddly, the Chinese Communist Party. No one who deserves to be listened to is arguing that “gain-of-function” has no practical purpose beyond weaponization, just as it would be silly to argue that Methyl isocyanate has no practical industrial use. It just happened to kill over 3,700 people in Bhopal, India in 1984 as a result of an inadvertent disaster. By muddying these waters, Fauci isn’t clarifying what we definitively know and don’t know. He’s obfuscating and making reasoned discussion around this—the central geostrategic issue of our time—more difficult.

I had a vision this morning of October, Game 1 of the World Series. The pandemic is all but over in the United States, with just a few thousand cases per day. Fauci comes out to throw out the first pitch and … is booed.

Somehow that feels like the only conceivable ending to COVID and the era of political insanity in which it incubated.

But no, needless to say, there’s virtually nothing that could come out on him that would lead to Biden firing him. In a worst-case scenario where it was revealed that, say, Fauci had reason to think that the virus really did escape from the Wuhan lab and actively covered that up, it would be made clear to him privately that it was time to “retire.” He’s 80, after all. And frankly, I bet he will retire within the next six months or so. Now that America has largely vaccinated itself out of the biggest public-health crisis of his career, he can declare that there are no more mountains left for him to climb and enjoy his golden years. That has to beat being a hate object for half the country.