U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, would testify before the Senate, giving lawmakers the chance to ask questions on the federal government’s response to the new coronavirus.
Trump disclosed this to reporters outside the White House before he departed for Arizona, where he will visit a medical equipment facility.
“Doctor Fauci will be testifying in front of the Senate, and he looks forward to doing that,” the U.S. president said.
Fauci has become a trusted face during the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Trump added that he would wear a mask in Arizona if it was required after Vice President Mike Pence recently landed in hot water for not covering his face while touring a medical centre.
Trump’s Republican Party holds a majority in the Senate.
The president said that Fauci would not go to the House of Representatives, where the rival Democrats dominate.
“They frankly want our situation to be unsuccessful, which means death,” he said, calling the opposition party “Trump haters.”
The president downplayed a media report which cited internal administration projections sharply raising the expected deaths toll.
He said that the report was based on “no mitigation” but that even as states began to reopen, social distancing and other measures would remain in effect.
Trump threatened to intervene in states if governors took dangerous actions, even though he encouraged reopenings.
“We have to open our country,” he said.
There are nearly 69,000 confirmed deaths in the U.S., per a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
One model often relied on by the White House is showing this number may nearly double by August.