White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul engaged in yet another explosive exchange at a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky were testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 response. Paul began to ask Fauci why he had attempted to suppress the lab-leak theory by dismissing the work of various scientists who were exploring the possibility, and Fauci got fired up in response.
“I think, in usual fashion, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said. “There you go again. You just do the same thing every hearing. You’re absolutely incorrect, as usual, Senator. You are incorrect, almost everything you say—”
Paul interjected that Fauci denies doing so, but that his emails show the truth. He said that Fauci tried to suppress information from scientists from Oxford, Harvard and Stanford who were open to the lab-leak theory.
“You conspired with Peter Daszak, who you communicated with privately, and other members of the scientific community that wrote opinion pieces for Nature,” Paul said. “17 signed a paper that called it conspiracy theory, the idea that the virus could’ve originated in the lab. Do you think words like ‘conspiracy theory’ should be in a scientific paper?”
Paul was referring to emails which show Fauci and colleagues dismissing the lab-leak theory and coordinating to publish articles and make public comments endorsing that view. Scientists from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford who were open to the theory were called “fringe” and dismissed by Fauci allies.
“You keep distorting the truth, it is stunning how you do that,” Fauci replied. “You’re going back to that original discussion when I brought together a group of people to look at every possibility with an open mind. So not only are you distorting it, you are completely turning it around, as you usually do.”
He then insisted that the purpose of the hearing was to discuss pandemic response, not for him to face personal attacks from Paul.
Fauci denied ever calling the lab-leak theory a “conspiracy theory” and argued Paul was distorting his emails. Paul then turned to questioning Fauci’s pandemic response and support for certain vaccine and mask mandates. (RELATED: ‘Try To Cover Your Ass:’ Rand Paul Demands Fauci Resign For Refusing To Admit To Funding Gain Of Function Research In Wuhan)
Paul accused Fauci of being responsible for the nearly 900,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S., calling him the “architect” of the government’s pandemic response.
“If you look at everything that I said, you accuse me of in a monolithic way, telling people what they need to do,” Fauci rebutted. “Everything that I have said has been in support of the CDC guidelines: wear a mask, get boosted, get vaccinated—”
Paul interrupted to accuse Fauci of wanting to make his opinion into law via mandates.
Rather than directly answer the questions from Paul, either about the coordination to suppress the lab-leak theory or about his advocacy for mandates, Fauci then pivoted to accusing Paul of attacking him for political reasons.
“What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children, with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.”
Fauci then appeared to blame Paul for instigating an assassination attempt against him. (RELATED: Rand Paul Says Fauci ‘Ignores The Science, Causes Hysteria And Creates Fear’)
“Just about three or four weeks ago on Dec. 21, a person was arrested who was on their way from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., at a speed stop in Iowa. And the police asked him where he was going, and he was going to Washington, D.C., to kill Dr. Fauci,” he explained. “And they found in his car an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition, because he thinks that maybe I’m killing people. So I ask myself, why would Senator want to do this? So go to Rand Paul’s website, and you see ‘Fire Dr. Fauci’ with a little box that says ‘contribute here’ … so you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.”
At that point, Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the committee chair, cut off both men to move to questions from other committee members.