Sen. Rand Paul escalated his months-long feud with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Tuesday, accusing him of lying to Congress about whether the National Institutes of Health-funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, setting off an enraged shouting match.
The Kentucky Republican opened a Senate Health Committee meeting designed to update legislators on the country’s COVID-19 response by asking Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases if he is aware that lying to Congress is a crime.
“On May 11, you indicated that the NIH has never funded gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and does not do so today,” Paul replied. He stated that gain-of-function research was conducted in the lab and pointed to an academic paper written by a Chinese scientist, which he then requested to be placed into the record and a copy sent to Fauci.
“Do you wish to retract your statement of May 11, in which you claimed that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research and move on?” “Dr. Fauci, knowing that lying to Congress is a crime, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11, in which you claimed that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research and move on?” Paul stated, reiterating his unsubstantiated claim.
Paul’s idea was categorically rejected by Fauci.
“I have never lied to the Congress, Senator Paul.” “And I make no apologies for that statement,” he continued.
Paul speculated that Fauci and the NIH were partly to blame for the epidemic and the deaths of 4 million people throughout the world.
When Paul intervened, the virology specialist clarified that the study Paul cited did not reflect gain-of-function research, and a screaming fight followed.
“Give me a chance to finish!” When Paul tried to intervene, Fauci said. “Quite simply, Senator Paul, you have no idea what you’re talking about. And I’d want to state unequivocally that you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The two continued their fight by debating the concept of gain-of-function. “Neither the NIH nor the NIAID has ever approved any funding that would have funded ‘gain-of-function research on coronaviruses that would have enhanced their transmissibility or lethality for people,” NIH Director Francis Collins stated in a statement earlier this year, warning of misconceptions.
Paul, on the other hand, would not be convinced.
“You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to avoid accountability for four million people dying from a pandemic all around you,” Paul explained.
Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington, chaired the Senate Health Committee at that moment and urged Paul to stop interrupting Fauci’s testimony.
“I completely despise the falsehood you’re currently spreading, senator,” Fauci added. “It’s molecularly impossible—” “If you look at the viruses that were used in the tests, that were presented in the yearly reports, that were published in the literature, it’s molecularly impossible—”
“You’re plainly obfuscating the truth,” Paul interjected, to which Fauci said, “I’m not obfuscating the truth — you are.”
“You’re insinuating that our actions resulted in the deaths of persons.” “I abhor it,” Fauci expressed his displeasure.
“It might have been,” Paul interjected.
Senator, if anyone is lying here, it’s you,” Fauci said, pointing his finger at Paul.
Sen. Tina Smith, D-New Mexico, was the next legislator up, and she gave Fauci the opportunity to “counteract these attacks on your integrity that we’ve all just watched.”
“I’m afraid I don’t have anything further to say,” Fauci added. “This is a pattern that Sen. Paul has followed at many hearings based on no evidence.” He constantly bringing up the concept of gain-of-function. This has been examined by qualified persons several times and determined not to come under the gain-of-function criteria.
“I have never lied to Congress.” I’ve never lied, especially not in front of Congress. “The case is closed,” Fauci stated.