Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was caught on tape muttering “what a moron” after a Republican senator demanded that he provide members of Congress with a financial disclosure that is already publicly available.
During a Tuesday hearing of the Senate health committee, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) questioned Fauci about his salary and personal investments.
“As the highest-paid employee in the entire federal government, yes or no, would you be willing to submit to Congress and the public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments?” Marshall asked.
Visibly perplexed, Fauci informed Marshall that his personal finances have been public for decades, as required by law.
“The Big Tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public,” Marshall fired back. “We’ll continue to look for it. Where would we find it?”
“All you have to do is ask for it!” Fauci replied. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”
Marshall then launched into a rant about how Fauci has access to privileged information and that there is “an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on.”
Fauci grew increasingly agitated.
“Senator, what are you talking about?” he asked. “My financial disclosures are public knowledge and have been so. You are getting amazingly wrong information.”
“Our office cannot find them.” Marshall said. “Where would they be if they’re public knowledge?”
Again, Fauci told him that the documents are accessible to anyone. All a person has to do is request them, as Center for Public Integrity investigative reporter Liz Essley Whyte did in 2020.
The testy exchange ended with a sheepish Marshall saying that he and his team look forward to reviewing the documents.
As committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called on the next senator for their round of questioning, a hot mic caught Fauci ridiculing Marshall.
“What a moron,” Fauci said. “Jesus Christ.”
In a statement after the hearing, Marshall said it was clear Fauci had a “very frustrating day” fielding questions from the committee.
“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,” Marshall said.
Fauci addressed the incident during an interview late Tuesday with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
“It was stunning to me that a United States senator doesn’t realize that my financial statement is public knowledge,” he said. “It was just like, ‘Where have you been?’”
This story has been updated with responses from Marshall and Fauci.