Rep. Jim Jordan C-SPAN
Rep. Maxine Waters erupted at Rep. Jim Jordan during a House subcommittee hearing on COVID-19.
Jordan sparred with Dr. Fauci, repeatedly interrupted the chairman, and went over his speaking time.
Waters then told Jordan to “respect the chair and shut your mouth.”
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California Rep. Maxine Waters erupted at Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on Thursday while the Republican lawmaker was berating Dr. Anthony Fauci during a House subcommittee hearing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jordan has frequently made headlines for his loaded, and often misleading, criticisms of Fauci, who is the US’s top infectious disease expert.
Waters intervened on Thursday as Jordan was in the middle of grilling Fauci, telling the Republican lawmaker to “respect the chair and shut your mouth.”
“I just want to know, when do Americans get their First Amendment liberties back?” Jordan asked Fauci after going on an extended rant about what he described as arbitrary and overreaching restrictions on daily life.
“You’re making this a personal thing, and it isn’t,” Fauci said before Jordan cut him off.
“Your recommendations carry a lot of weight, Dr. Fauci. We just had the chair of the Financial Services Committee said she loves you and you’re the greatest thing in the world,” Jordan said, referring to Waters.
The California congresswoman then jumped in, asking Jordan if he would yield his time to her, which he refused to do.
“Can I answer the question, please?” Fauci said. “My recommendations are not a personal recommendation. It’s based on the CDC guidance, which is underscored -“
“And I’m asking the questions,” Jordan said as he cut Fauci off. “What measures have to be attained before Americans get their First Amendment liberties back?”
“I just told you that,” Fauci said, to which Jordan responded, “No, you haven’t given anything specific.”
Fauci then noted that there are currently about 60,000 new COVID-19 infections recorded in the US per day, “which is a very large risk for a surge. We’re not talking about liberties, we’re talking about a pandemic that has killed 560,000 Americans. That’s what we’re talking about.”
Jordan said he didn’t disagree with that and that he understood “how serious that is,” but added: “I also understand it’s pretty serious when businesses have been shut down, people can’t go to church, people can’t assemble in their own homes with their friends, with their families, people can’t go to a loved one’s funeral, people can’t get to their government, petition their representative to redress their grievances.”
“I want to know when Americans will get those First Amendment liberties back,” the lawmaker said as he pressed Fauci.
“You just said people cannot assemble in their own homes. They can. That’s a CDC recommendation for vaccinated people,” Fauci said.
“Not last fall they couldn’t,” Jordan shot back, at which point Fauci said he couldn’t hear what Jordan said.
The subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Jim Clyburn, then noted that Jordan’s time to ask questions had run out and noted that Americans could take a step toward “getting our liberties back” when “90% of the members of the United States Congress get vaccinated.”
Jordan interjected and said he wanted to hear Fauci’s thoughts on the matter. “Give me some objective standards … What are the numbers?”
“Where does it get to? When it comes down, what number do we get our liberties back? Tell me the number,” Jordan asked, referring to the rate of new COVID-19 infections.
Clyburn repeatedly banged his gavel while the Ohio congressman was speaking to signal that his time was up, and then recognized Waters.
“I’d like my question answered!” Jordan shouted as Waters said she was reclaiming her speaking time.
“Mr. Chairman, I don’t want you to answer my question, the American people want Dr. Fauci to answer the question,” he said, as Waters cut him off.
“Your time expired, sir,” the California lawmaker said. “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth.”
Clyburn then stepped in, saying, “Don’t worry about this. We’re going to handle this.”
He turned to Jordan and added, “I think Mr. Jordan knows me very well, and he knows full well that we’re going to handle this. Your time has expired.”
Watch the exchange below:
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