Matthew Pottinger is married to wife Dr. Yen Pottinger. The former Former Trump National Security Council official was called to testify at the House Select Committee Jan. 6 hearings on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Pottinger and his wife have two children, according to The Washington Post.
The July 21 hearing aimed its focus on former President Donald Trump’s inaction to stop supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol building as lawmakers gathered to confirm the election of President Joe Biden, according to CNN.
Democratic Representative Elaine Luria of Virginia and GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois led the hearing. Luria told CNN the committee would “go through pretty much minute by minute” Trump’s actions.
“He was doing nothing to actually stop the riot,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Yen Pottinger Is a Virologist Who Served With the CDC
Yen Pottinger is a virologist who served with the Centers for Disease Control with specializations in HIV and tuberculosis. She worked with the CDC in its Division of Global HIV and TB, according to the Miller Center. While serving with the CDC, she developed a lab test to measure HIV incidence. That test became the global standard used in HIV surveillance studies, the Miller Center reported.
Matthew Pottinger testified that Trump’s tweet Jan. 6, 2021, calling former President Mike Pence a “coward” helped to spur the attack on the Capitol.
“I was disturbed and worried to see that the President was attacking Vice President Pence for doing his constitutional duty. So, the tweet looked to me like the opposite of what we really needed at that moment, which was a de-escalation. And that’s why… I said earlier that it looked like fuel being poured on the fire,” he said.
2. Yen & Matthew Pottinger Have Two Children, Both Sons
Yen and Matthew Pottinger have two children together, according to the Miller Center.
Matthew Pottinger resigned in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said during the hearing.
“One of my staff brought me a printout of a tweet by the President, and the tweet said something to the effect that Mike Pence, the vice president, didn’t have the courage to do what he — what should have been done. I — I read that tweet and made a decision at that moment to resign. That’s where I knew that I was leaving that day once I read that tweet,” he said in a clip played during the hearing.
3. Yen Pottinger Is a Senior Laboratory Adviser at Columbia University
Pottinger now works as a senior laboratory adviser at ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, according to the Miller Center. There, “she focuses on implementing point-of-care rapid recency tests in PEFAR countries, a new tool for detecting and responding to HIV clusters of new infections,” the Miller Center writes.
“How can a large public health survey in sub-Saharan Africa collect blood samples efficiently? Is it possible to perform sophisticated lab tests in people’s homes? What is the best way to transport samples collected from remote locations?” Columbia University wrote in a 2016 article. “The Population-based HIVImpact Assessment (PHIA) Project, which relies on laboratory testing of blood samples as a core component, is providing answers to these questions. Led by ICAP at Columbia University, the PHIA surveys will assess the HIV epidemic in 13 select countries located primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Teams used mobile labs in remote locations in Zambia and Tanzania, the article said. They were equipped with a centrifuge, refrigerator, a -20⁰ C freezer, and other supplies.
“Mobile labs are an innovative way to handle samples when other labs are not close enough,” Pottinger said in the article.
Columbia University reported Pottinger joined ICAP in 2015.
4. Yen Pottinger Said ‘Science Will Save the Day’ in the Fight Against COVID-19
Pottinger told Columbia University’s publication she believed science would save the day in the fight against COVID-19. She said in the university publication that she initially planned to become a medical doctor, but studying HIV combined her interest in viruses with her love of chemistry.
“I love viruses over organisms like bacteria and parasites,” she said. “Viruses are very efficient. They get the job done. HIV, for instance, is especially brilliant – it attacks the cells that you use to attack the virus, and it integrates itself into your genome so once you’re infected, you can’t get rid of it.”
She made the decision to study viruses while studying at UC Davis, she told the publication.
“I thought I might develop a drug that would have an impact on diseases caused by viruses, and so I entered the school of pharmacology and toxicology at UC Davis, and joined an HIV lab, mixing my love for viruses and my love of chemistry,” she said in the article.
5. Pottinger Addressed U.S. Relations With China During the Coronavirus Response in a Speech
Pottinger spoke May 4, 2020, at a virtual edition of the Ambassador William C. Battle Symposium on American Diplomacy, hosted by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. The symposium “took an in-depth look at U.S.–Chinese relations during the coronavirus pandemic,” the Miller Center reported.
“We saw in the early days that China was very forthcoming with their data, and this was extremely important…The countries where viruses begin have a special responsibility to share data early, unfiltered to the global community so that people can prepare for when the virus hits their shores,” Pottinger said at the symposium.
Matthew Pottinger testified in the hearings about the moment when he learned about violence at the U.S. Capitol, and spoke about Trump’s tweet calling Pence a “coward.”
“Shortly before I had gotten back to the White House, I had come from off site. I began to see, for the first time, those images on TV about the chaos that was unfolding at the Capitol. One of my aides handed me a sheet of paper that contained the tweet that you just read. And I read it and was quite disturbed by it,” Pottinger said.