Dr. Anthony Fauci rebuked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday for inciting death threats against him and his family for “political gain,” after the Kentucky Republican blamed Fauci directly for all COVID-19 deaths in the United States.
“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 said at the hearing, which was meant to update senators on the government response to emerging coronavirus variants.
Paul launch a series of attacks against Fauci at the hearing, alleging that the infectious disease expert actively worked to censor other scientists and silence any investigation into the origins of the coronavirus. He went on to directly blame Fauci for every U.S. death from COVID-19.
“More people have died now under President Biden than under President Trump,” Paul said. “You are the one responsible. You are the architect, you are the lead architect responsible from the government, and now 800,000 people have died.”
“In usual fashion, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci told Paul during the hearing. “You keep coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance to reality.”
Fauci then held up printouts of Paul’s campaign website, which displayed the phrase “Fire Dr. Fauci” next to an invitation to contribute money.
“You are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” he told Paul.
The Republican senator and the country’s top infectious disease expert have been in a feud for over a year regarding the coronavirus and the efforts of public health experts to mitigate the pandemic. Paul has called on Fauci to resign. Last summer, Fauci said during a hearing that Paul didn’t know what he was talking about after yet another exchange about the origins of the virus. More recently, in November, Fauci said Republicans like Paul have used him as a proxy for their anti-science attacks.
Fauci was testifying before the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee alongside Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Dawn O’Connell.