Upton to Fauci: 'Keep being a science truth teller'

Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton emailed Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic with questions about hydroxychloroquine and encouragement to “keep being a science truth teller."

That's according to emails obtained through public records requests by the Washington Post and BuzzFeed News. 

Upton reached out to Fauci on April 10, 2020, asking about the lupus treatment drug hydroxychloroquine being pushed by former President Donald Trump and whether anyone with lupus had contracted COVID-19, the Post reported. Upton's wife, Amey, has lupus.

In this April 6, 2020 file photo, a pharmacist holds a bottle of the drug hydroxychloroquine in Oakland, Calif.

Fauci responded to Upton that the answer was “almost certainly yes,” but there wasn’t enough data to draw any conclusions yet.

Upton also wrote April 11 with a note linking to a story from The Hill about two of his Republican colleagues criticizing Fauci for the impact coronavirus mitigation policies were having on the economy. Upton noted they had both voted against the first two bills to put more money toward coronavirus response efforts. 

“Keep being a science truth teller,” Upton concluded. 

“Thanks Fred,” Fauci responded. “I appreciate your note.”

Fauci, who served as the face of the public health response to the pandemic, was often at odds with Trump, who downplayed the severity of the virus and publicly pushed back on coronavirus restrictions. 

Upton was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after hundreds of his supporters breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Ex-ambassador gets Moroccan award

Former U.S. ambassador to Morocco David T. Fischer this month was awarded the Alaouite Wissam of the Order of Commander from King Mohammed VI.

Fischer, the chairman emeritus of Suburban Collection, was presented with the royal decoration by the King’s ambassador to the United States, Princess Lalla Joumala, during a ceremony at the residence of the Moroccan Embassy in Washington, according to a news release.

The award was to honor Fischer's efforts to bolster bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries. Fischer was nominated in 2017 as ambassador by Trump and served about a year from January 2020 to Jan 2021.

At right, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco David T. Fischer received the Alaouite Wissam of the Order of Commander, a royal decoration, presented by Princess Lalla Joumala, center, during a ceremony at the Residence of the Moroccan Embassy on June 5, 2021. Also pictured is Jennifer Fischer.

Fischer served as Ambassador to Morocco from 2020-2021. He currently serves as Chairman of Troy, Michigan-based Suburban Collection Holdings.

Emails: Nessel wanted owner arrested

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wanted to arrest a Holland restaurant owner defiant of the state's COVID-19 rules before the woman had a chance to go on Fox News, according to emails obtained and reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential

Her comments came after staff told her Marlena Pavlos-Hackney planned to sit down for an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. 

“Do we know her whereabouts?" Nessel said in the March 12 email obtained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy publication. "We should just have her picked up before she goes on. This is outrageous.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wanted to know if Michigan State Police was going to pick up COVID-19 renegade restaurant owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney after she learned the owner was doing an interview on Fox News, according to emails obtained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Nessel, according to Capitol Confidential, also asked in another email: “Does MSP intend to go find her? Or are they planning to wait until next week?” 

In a release Nessel posted to social media after Marlena's March 19 arrest for contempt of court, the attorney general noted Pavlos-Hackney had "countless opportunities to comply" but instead flaunted orders, even "going on Tucker Carlson and setting up a lucrative Go Fund Me account."

Pavlos-Hackney was released four days after her arrest and her case remains pending in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon said the emails clearly showed Nessel's "use of state law enforcement to target Ms. Hackney for speaking out against Whitmer's government."

"Putting Michiganders in jail for exercising their own Constitutional rights, and speaking out against their government is un-American," she said. 

mburke@detroitnews.com

eleblanc@detroitnews.com