CNN political commentator Mary Katharine Ham said Wednesday morning on “New Day” that White House senior medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has good reason to face tough questions on the coronavirus, after Fauci and Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul exchanged heated words during a Senate hearing.
When asked why there is a “fixation” on “attacking” Fauci, Ham said that he has covered up his public health decisions, casting a wave of doubt over him.
“I think it’s that Fauci is a very powerful public official who deserves – and rarely gets – tough questioning in almost any realm. He gets, frankly, a lot of fangirling and a lot of just sort of forum for his ideas and he doesn’t get a lot of pushback. Sen. Paul understood the assignment here, he’s asking about a tough subject that admittedly none of us are experts on, but I would like to know a lot more about,” Ham said.
“Despite his protestations, tough questions for Dr. Anthony Fauci are not attacks on science itself,” Ham continued, making light of the Fauci’s previous claim that attacks on him were direct attacks on science.
“This is something we should talk about. Further, Fauci has something to do with the numbers on his own level of trustworthiness. He has at least, twice, and I will be gentle in saying, at least shaded the truth about his COVID pronouncements based on his own judgment on what the public can handle,” she said.
Ham pointed to the fact that Fauci claimed masks weren’t necessarily useful for preventing the coronavirus during the beginning of the pandemic because he wanted to ensure health workers had a supply. She also pointed out that Fauci reportedly admitted in December he adjusted his herd immunity threshold based on polling numbers. (RELATED: HHS Sends Heavily Redacted Fauci Emails After FOIA Lawsuit)
“You may think those shadings of the truth were noble … but it did cede distrust of him with good reason,” she said. “Those are just facts and it is an issue that a very powerful public figure was found to be shading the truth about these things and it is a reason that people have come to distrust him.”
Paul and Fauci got into a heated debate Wednesday over whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research that might have been a contributing factor to the coronavirus outbreak. During a May hearing, Fauci claimed the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
But during Tuesday’s hearing, Paul asked if Fauci would like to retract the statement after Paul discovered an NIH study that he claims proves the institute was studying gain-of-function research, which alters pathogens to make them more transmissible.
Fauci denied allegations he lied before Congress, arguing the study Paul referred to was not a gain-of-function research study.
“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I would like to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about,” Fauci shot back at Paul.
Yes, Dr. Fauci’s NIH did fund the Wuhan Virology Lab. Here’s the verbatim admission from their chief scientist Dr. Shi Zhengli. pic.twitter.com/wk5mzeLWHR
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 20, 2021
“No one is saying those viruses caused the pandemic,” Paul retorted. “What we’re alleging is that gain of function research was done in that lab and NIH funded it. You can’t get away from it, it meets your definition and you are obfuscating the truth.”
The NIH funded a nonprofit group that did research bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab, but Fauci denied the study is a gain-of-function study, according to CNBC.