Former Vice President Mike Pence blamed the Biden administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci for mismanaging the COVID-19 response that had been established under the Trump administration.
Pence, while promoting his new memoir "So Help Me God," told NBC News that Fauci's role changed after Biden replaced former President Donald Trump.
"I think in the early days of the coronavirus task force, Dr. Fauci was a great source of comfort to millions of Americans," Pence said Sunday on "Meet the Press."
"He had an easygoing bedside manner through which he communicated at the podium. And as I said, we had a good rapport in those days. Because Dr. Fauci, in my time leading the task force, always stayed in his lane."
However, after Biden became president, Fauci was "empowered" to lead the COVID response.
"When the Biden administration came in and essentially turned over the management of COVID to Dr. Fauci, I was not surprised to see them put all of their emphasis on vaccines, then after having promised that they would not mandate vaccines, then seeking to mandate vaccines on Americans," Pence, the head of the White House's coronavirus task force at the beginning of the pandemic, told NBC News. "That was the doctor approach.
"And I think when President Biden came in and essentially empowered Dr. Fauci, I think the American people recoiled at that approach. And sadly, the Biden administration lost more Americans in their first year with COVID than we did in our first year, a year where we had none of the tools, few supplies, no testing, ultimately no medicines until the end."
Pence has said he's considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Trump officially kicked off his campaign last week.
Republicans who won control of the House in the next Congress are expected to conduct several investigations surrounding the Biden administration, including its COVID-19 response.
Several GOP representatives have called for a subpoena to call upon Fauci, the outgoing director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, to testify before Congress despite his imminent retirement at year's end.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and other Republican lawmakers attacked Fauci throughout the pandemic for what they perceive as contradictory or misleading statements.
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