There’s grilling a witness, and then there’s whatever you want to call the histrionic performance Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) treated a House subcommittee to Thursday.
Jordan was so contemptuous that, after he exceeded his time limit (yet nevertheless kept talking), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) intervened.
“Your time expired, sir,” she told Jordan, curtly. “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth.”
The hearing was convened to discuss “a science-driven approach” to “swiftly and safely” ending the pandemic. In the minutes leading up to the above exchange, Jordan repeatedly accosted Dr. Anthony Fauci, demanding answers to misleading questions, then loudly speaking over the nation’s top infectious disease expert as he attempted to answer them.
Jordan really only asked one question, though it was buried in theatrics and went through several iterations. After each, he cut off Fauci as he attempted to respond. Here’s a small sample that’s representative of the whole:
Jordan: “When is the time? When do Americans get their freedom back?”
Fauci: “When we get the level of infections in this country low enough that it is not a really high ― ”
Jordan: “What is low enough? Give me a number. We had 15 days to slow the spread turn into one year of lost liberty. What metrics, what measures, what has to happen before Americans get their freedoms back?”
Fauci started to respond to Jordan’s question, but was cut off again by the lawmaker.
Toward the end of the back and forth, even the typically reserved Fauci seemed frustrated. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was attempting to warn of the dangers of a fourth COVID-19 surge, with the country seeing 60,000 infections a day, when Jordan ― again ― cut him off.
“I just want to know when will Americans get their First Amendment liberties back,” Jordan interjected.
“I think you’re making this a personal thing and it isn’t,” Fauci replied.
“It’s not a personal thing,” Jordan claimed, “it ― ”
“You are,” Fauci said, firmly, cutting him off. “That’s exactly what you’re doing.”
“My recommendations are not a personal recommendation,” Fauci added later. “It’s based on CDC guidance, which is underscored ― ”
Jordan then cut him off once more, to ask the same question he’d interrupted the answer to several times before. “And I’m asking the questions!” he exclaimed. “What measures have to be attained before Americans get their First Amendment liberties back?”
More than 564,000 Americans have now died of COVID-19, just 16,000 shy of the entire population of Wyoming.