Fauci, Sen. Paul trade barbs in fiery COVID-19 hearing
No lost love between these two.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul accused each other of lying during a contentious Senate hearing on Capitol Hill.
The world-famous pandemic doctor bristled on Tuesday when Paul insinuated that the U.S. helped fund research at a controversial Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci told Paul before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, saying a study the senator mentioned referenced a different sort of virus entirely from the one responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about.”
The mild-mannered doctor added, “If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you.”
Paul accused Fauci of splitting hairs about the funding, which he says may have helped China create the COVID-19 virus in the lab.
“You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility,” Paul retorted.
The Kentucky senator even suggested that Fauci could be responsible for the nearly 4 million deaths worldwide, a remarkable accusation to level at the nation’s best-known public health expert.
“I resent that,” Fauci shot back.
It was the latest in a series of clashes between Paul and Fauci over the origins of the virus that caused the global pandemic.
U.S. cases of COVID-19 last week increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall, and an increase in death historically follows a spike in illness. Much of the worsening problem is being driven by the delta variant first identified in India, which has since hit the United Kingdom and other countries according to the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.