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Dr. Anthony Fauci did not have a very good day Tuesday appearing before the Senate Health Committee to discuss the federal response to new COVID-19 variants. He had a tense back and forth with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who continues to press the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on his response to the pandemic and on his arrogance, which resulted in Fauci accusing the GOP senator of making false accusations that are leading to death threats against him.
But if Biden’s chief medical advisor seemed to be bad-tempered with Paul, that was tame compared to his reaction to Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who previously practiced medicine as an obstetrician. The contentious exchange between the two, which included Marshall citing a report from DARPA, a Defense Department agency, to question Fauci about gain-of-function research, ended with a hot mic moment, as Fauci lost his temper and called Marshall a “moron.”
Marshall had asked Fauci if he would be willing to submit to Congress, “as the highest paid employee in the entire federal government,” a financial disclosure that included his “past and current investments?”
“I don’t know why you are asking me that question,” Fauci countered. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so of 35 years (sic)… It is totally accessible to you if you want it.”
“The Big Tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public. We’ll continue to look for it,” the senator said. “Where would we find it?”
Fauci responded by blasting Marshall: “All you have to do is ask for it. You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary. All you have to do is ask for it.”
“Why am I misinformed? This is a huge issue,” Marshall replied. “Wouldn’t you agree with me that you have — you see things before members of Congress would see them, so that there’s an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on. You know, I don’t think that’s — I assume that that’s not the case. I assume it’s not the case.”
The infectious disease expert responded with more verbal attacks, “Senator, what are you talking about? My financial disclosures are public knowledge and have been so. You are getting amazingly wrong information. What are you talking about?”
Sen. Marshall explained that his office has been unable to find the records, asking Fauci, “Where would they be if they’re public knowledge? Where?”
“It is totally accessible to you if you want it… To the public. To the public. You are totally incorrect,” Fauci answered.
At this point, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., intervened to say that they would be moving on to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. Fauci can then be heard muttering, “What a moron. Jesus Christ.”
He would justify his insult afterwards, telling MSNBC he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realize that my financial statement is public knowledge.”
In a statement released after the hearing, Marshall said that “contrary to what Dr. Fauci said, Dr. Fauci’s financial disclosures for the years of the COVID pandemic are not public.”
“I understand that Anthony Fauci had a very frustrating day: having a bombshell report show he in fact did award U.S. tax dollars for gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and being called out about his personal financial disclosure during the COVID pandemic NOT being publicly available must be very frustrating,” the statement said. “Calling me a moron during a Senate hearing may have alleviated the stress of the least trusted bureaucrat in America, but it didn’t take away from the facts.”
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