Fox News host Neil Cavuto got into a heated dispute with Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Thursday after the lawmaker pushed to disband the White House coronavirus task force amid record surges in COVID-19 cases because, he claimed, its health experts “undermine” President Donald Trump.
Biggs, a fierce Trump ally, had on Wednesday called for the White House coronavirus task force to be dismantled. He accused its leading experts ― Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator ― of working to “contradict many of President Trump’s stated goals and actions for returning to normalcy,” which he claimed was “causing panic that compromises our economic recovery.”
In Thursday’s Fox News interview, Biggs also claimed, despite widespread evidence to the contrary, that face masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Biggs represents a state that is experiencing one of the most serious case spikes in the country, a point Cavuto noted.
“You have hospitalizations and ICU bed use, the highest of this crisis. You’re telling people to ... [not wear] a mask and get rid of a commission,” Cavuto said. “Your people are listening to you, and you’re saying we can ease up.”
When Biggs accused Cavuto of “cherry-picking data,” the Fox News host fired back that the lawmaker simply wanted to get rid of the task force because he doesn’t like what the experts are saying.
“They have no political agenda,” Cavuto said. “They’re worried doctors, and they think that people can get a little cavalier. I don’t think that means they’re anti-the-president’s-agenda. They’re pro-keeping-people-alive agenda.”
“Their time of usefulness has expired,” Biggs responded. “What they do is when the president comes out and makes a policy, because he is the president and he is the policymaker, when they make these statements that they make, they engender panic and hysteria and undermine what the president is doing.”
Cavuto noted that if people were following guidance to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, public health experts would not need to express such dire concerns. Earlier this week, Fauci warned that new daily cases could reach 100,000 unless more aggressive nationwide action is taken to slow the spread. A record-setting one-day spike of 50,000 cases was recorded Wednesday as several states began to reverse course on their reopening plans ― including Arizona, Texas, Florida and California, where the outbreaks have been most severe.
Meanwhile, that same day, Trump said he still believed the virus would eventually “just disappear” on its own.
“Doesn’t he refer to them as the health experts?” Cavuto asked. “Doesn’t he have a commission because he defers to them as the health experts?”
He added: “And they’re citing worries. They’re citing also that we can get this under control. It needn’t be a panic if people should do what they should be doing. But isn’t that what doctors do, look after people’s lives?”
Watch the full exchange below.
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