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Dr. Anthony Fauci had yet another tense exchange Tuesday with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during a Senate Health Committee hearing on the federal response to new COVID variants and the GOP senator appeared later on Fox News to say Biden’s chief medical advisor “doesn’t want to debate… because ‘he is science.'”
Paul continued his ongoing campaign of pressing the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on taking responsibility for his actions throughout the pandemic at the hearing, which culminated in Fauci accusing the GOP senator of making false accusations about him that are leading to death threats against him, and then using this for fundraising purposes.
In addition to grilling Fauci on reports that he sought to suppress “fringe” epidemiologists’ coronavirus mitigation strategies, Paul questioned the infectious disease expert about being at least tangentially culpable in the creation of viruses through gain-of-function research, which didn’t sit well with a rather contentious Fauci.
Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Paul about Fauci’s claim that he is putting his life in danger during an appearance Wednesday evening on “The Story.”
“The accusation, the juvenile and personal attack to say that I’m responsible for death threats on him, would be equivalent to myself or [Rep.] Steve Scalise saying that the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot us — that it was Bernie Sanders’ responsibility,” Paul said. “So you remember the shooting at the ball field? I was ten feet from a young man who was shot. I was about 20 yards from Steve Scalise, who was shot. Not one Republican came forward to say it was Bernie Sanders’ fault. So when Democrats say that, and Fauci is a Democrat partisan, he’s trying to deflect.”
“What I was asking him about is this: He says he’s science and if you question him or oppose him, you’re opposing science,” he continued. “But this kind of arrogance also led him and Dr. [Francis] Collins to say that they would take a take-down of three epidemiologists who started the Great Barrington Declaration. They’re from Stanford, Oxford and Harvard. They called them fringe, they orchestrated a take-down campaign in the lay media… and he didn’t want to answer my questions. So he accuses me of fomenting violence, but it’s a misdirection because he doesn’t want to accept that he’s become a political animal and that everything he does every day is to further his political agenda, not the science.”
(The Great Barrington Declaration advocates for an alternative approach to the COVID-19 pandemic which involves “Focused Protection” of those most at risk and minimizing lockdowns and the harm they cause on society.)
MacCallum questioned Paul about whether it’s fair for him to say Fauci is more responsible for COVID-19 deaths in this country than anyone else.
Paul responded to say that he believes the virus originated in a Chinese lab as a result of dangerous gain of function, and that if it can be proven that the virus did come from the lab then Fauci is culpable.
“[Fauci] funded the lab,” Paul said. “He tried to obscure the idea that he was giving money to the lab and then he steadfastly, for two years, said it wasn’t gain of function, that they weren’t taking viruses that don’t exist in nature, creating them and creating viruses that are so dangerous that they could actually wipe out a portion of humanity.”
“He continues to deny that if this came from the lab — yes, he’s culpable,” he added. “So when you ask him to investigate it, he’s not exactly interested. He has a conflict of interest because it came from the lab.”
The goal here being to ensure something like this never happens again, Paul explained.
MacCallum agreed that Fauci and Collins “waved everybody off of looking at the lab and that raises questions,” adding that Fauci “obviously gets very prickly when this topic is brought up.”
The Fox News host also pointed to recent stories about the possibility that the vaccinated might be more likely to contract omicron, and stories about whether current mitigation efforts might be leading to the creation of a “super variant.”
“The thing is, Dr. Fauci doesn’t want the debate. He wants to squelch debate because ‘he is science’. If you criticize him, you’re criticizing science,” Paul said.
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