Michigan Republican Rep. privately called Dr. Fauci 'a science truth teller,' according to released emails


Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, is the Trump whisperer. - OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY ANDREA HANKS
  • Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, center, is the Trump whisperer.

Thousands of emails sent to and from Dr. Anthony Fauci were recently published by Buzzfeed News and The Washington Post, shedding light on the inner thoughts of the nation's leading infectious disease expert during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the emails also shed light on the thoughts of the people who were corresponding with him. That includes U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a St. Joseph Republican who reached out to Fauci on April 10, 2020.

Upton reached out to Fauci to ask a question about hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug then-President Donald Trump was pushing as a coronavirus treatment for the coronavirus despite a lack of scientific evidence to support it.

Since hydroxychloroquine is used to treat lupus, Upton asked Fauci if anyone who had the disease had contracted COVID-19. Fauci wrote back that the answer was "almost certainly yes" but cautioned that there was not enough data to say so conclusively.

The next day, Upton reached out to Fauci again with a link to an article from The Hill about GOP lawmakers who opposed Fauci's COVID-19 recommendations because it was hurting businesses.

"It's upton again and no need to respond," Upton wrote. "U may get asked about this story and u should know that both [Rep. Ken Buck (of Colorado)] and [Rep. Andy Biggs (of Arizona)] were among the 40 that voted no on the 2nd package which provided assistance and testing (think it was $13B). It was not a surprise that they voted no as they r joined with Tom Massie [Kentucky] in almost everything."

Upton signed off with rare praise for Fauci coming from a Republican: "Keep being a science truth teller."

"Thanks, Fred," Fauci responded. "I appreciate your note."

Upton, a moderate, was one of only 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Hydroxychloroquine became a political flashpoint for Republicans, especially in Michigan, after Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration banned it as a treatment for COVID-19 patients in an effort to save it for non-coronavirus patients. Whitmer later reversed course, asking the federal government for shipments of the drug, and Henry Ford Health System launched one of the largest studies of it as a possible preventative measure against COVID-19. (Within months, the study was quietly abandoned because the hospital couldn't find enough voluntary test subjects after other studies found the drug potentially dangerous.)

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