Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Sen. Rand Paul attacks Dr. Anthony Fauci again; Fauci tells him: 'You are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain'

Anthony Fauci counterattacked against Rand Paul by showing pictures of a website on which Paul says to "Fire Dr. Fauci" and has nine buttons for contributions of increasing amounts. (Reuters photo)
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul accused Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday of misusing his position to attack fellow scientists who disagreed with him, and Fauci counterattacked by accusing Paul of inspiring threats on Fauci's life and making money off the pandemic. Each accused the other of acting politically.

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was among four Biden administration witnesses at a hearing that was dominated by senators' concern about the advice and messaging of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Paul used his time to continue his year-long attack on Fauci, who became a political punching bag in the presidency of Donald Trump. 

Paul cited email traffic between Paul and Dr. Francis Collins, recently retired director of the National Institutes of Health, in which Collins called for a "quick and devastating public takedown" of claims by "fringe epidemiologists" at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities who had questioned the effectiveness of lockdowns early in the pandemic. Fauci replied with published examples.

Paul said that by agreeing to help Collins, Fauci was "using government resources to smear the reputations of other scientists. . . . Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as fringe and take them down." He called that "cheap politics" and asked, "Do you really think it's appropriate to use your $420,000 federal salary to attack scientists who disagree with you?"

Fauci replied, "In usual fashion, you are distorting everything about me. . . . "You've accused me of in a monolithic way, telling people what they need to do. Everything I said has been in support of the CDC guidelines. Wear a mask. Get boosted. Get vaccinated. Take a look at everything I've said."

Paul shot back, "Do you think anybody has had more influence over our response than you have? Do you think it is a great success what has happened so far? Do you think the lockdowns were good for our kids? Do you think we slowed down the death rate? more people have died now under President Biden than did under Trump. You are the one responsible. You are the architect. You are the lead architect for the response from the government and now 800,000 people have died. Do you think it is a winning success, what you've advocated for government?"

Repeatedly, as Fauci answered and disputed Paul, the senator interrupted him and Fauci resumed.

"You keep coming back to personal attacks on me that have no relevance to reality . . . with not a shred of evidence of anything you say," Fauci told Paul. "You're doing this for political reasons."

Fauci said that the last time the two clashed, "He was accusing me of being responsible for the deaths of 4 to 5 million people . . . 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."

He said that on Dec., 21 in Iowa, "someone from Sacramento" who was stopped by police "said he was going to Washington, D.C., to kill Dr. Fauci" and had an AR-15 and ammunition magazines in his vehicle.

Fauci said he asked himself why Paul would want to keep attacking him, and held up screenshots of Paul's website with the headline "Fire Dr. Fauci" and a portal for contributing to Paul: "So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain." Paul is running for re-election this year.

UPDATE, Jan. 14: "Dozens of doctors, academics and health experts denounced 'personal attacks' against Anthony Fauci in a joint letter yesterday," The Washington Post reports. "Signatories include Nobel laureates and the leaders of many public-health schools."

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