White House COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci criticized a federal judge’s ruling that rescinded the federal government’s mask mandate for travel and claimed that judges “with no experience in public health” should make such decisions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “has the capability, through a large number of trained epidemiologists, scientists, to be able to make projections and make recommendations. Far more than a judge with no experience in public health,” Fauci told CBS News on Thursday. He also said that the ruling could set a “dangerous precedent,” without elaborating.
During the interview, Fauci did not address the substance of U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s argument against the mask mandate. Mizelle, a Trump appointee based in Florida, wrote that the CDC violated various aspects of federal administrative law when it crafted its mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of public transportation in early 2021.
After the order, the Biden administration on Wednesday moved to appeal the decision after a request from the CDC. Days before the order was handed down, the CDC said it would extend the mask mandate until at least May 3, although it’s not clear how long the agency would continue to keep the rule intact after that date passed.
“That was a very appropriate decision based on the evolving nature of the situation,” Fauci told CBS of the extension. “Right now, masks are important when you’re having an increase in the kinetics of the outbreak as we’re seeing right now.”
As of April 20, COVID-19 cases are far below the numbers that were seen in mid-January, when the seven-day average for cases exceeded 800,000. Currently, the seven-day moving average is around 42,000, according to the CDC’s tracker.
Republicans have ramped up their criticism of Fauci in recent months and have portrayed him as the face of a federal bureaucracy that has handed down COVID-19 rules and recommendations with little-to-no public comment or consideration for voters.
Following the Monday court decision, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote that “Fauci lost” and “freedom won,” while Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Thursday wrote that “Fauci’s huge ego has led him to believe that his opinion is above our nation’s courts.”
“Paging Dr. Fauci—That’s not how America operates. The Constitution applies to you too, Doc!” wrote Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) on Thursday after Fauci’s interview with CBS was published online.
Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ken.), who previously said he hasn’t flown on a plane since the mask mandate started, wrote that travelers are happy with the judge’s order.
“The fact that 95%+ travelers took off their masks as soon as the mandate was invalidated should be a wake-up call to democrats and republicans who played along with them for the past two years,” he wrote on Twitter this week.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.