OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took Dr. Anthony Fauci to the proverbial woodshed again as the two continued their epic feud.
It happened on Tuesday when Fauci was before the Senate and Paul accused him of “lying” about gain of function research at the Wuhan, China lab being financed by the United States, Fox News reported.
Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky are also likely to face questions at a on whether the U.S. should bring back health measures like mask mandates as the delta COVID variant spreads around the country.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.”
— Dr. Fauci after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accuses him of lying to Congress about gain-of-function research in Wuhan lab. pic.twitter.com/aGhn3ua9r0
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021
In his questioning of Fauci, Paul stepped close to the line of accusing Fauci of lying to Congress in previous testimony in which he said that the NIAID had never funded gain-of-function reasearch in China. Citing a paper on research about bat coronaviruses, Paul said that U.S. money had essentially gone to the hazardous and controversial reasearch – an assertion Fauci strongly objected to.
Paul asked Fauci if he wanted to retract his previous statement before Congress that the “NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan,” citing that lying to Congress is a crime
“I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said, noting that the research Paul talked about was “judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function.”
“When you take an animal virus, and you increase its transmissibility to humans—you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function research?” Paul saidTop of Form
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said.
“It says that ‘scientific research that increases the transmissibility among animals is gain-of-function,’” he said. The Wuhan researchers “took animal viruses…then increased their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain-of-function—it’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this, because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people around the world dying from a pandemic.”
“How can you say that’s not gain-of-function? It’s a dance and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” the senator hit back, cutting Fauci off.
Fauci was livid with the senator.
“If the point that you are making is that the grant that was funded as a subaward … created SARS-COV-2, that’s where you are getting,” he said as Paul cut him off again.
“We don’t know … but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab and there will be responsibility for those that funded the lab, including yourself,” the senator said, noting that while “nobody is saying” what was created in the Wuhan lab caused the pandemic the lab was still doing gain of function research that was, in part, paid for by the NIH.
“I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, senator,” the epidemiologist said, noting that it is molecularly impossible the research that the NIH funded was responsible for the creation of SARS-CoV-2.
“You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual[s], I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here, senator, it is you,” he said.
This comes more than a month after Sen. Paul said that he and his family have received death threats over his arguments with Dr. Fauci.
“I’ve had five death threats just for being outspoken on it this week,” he said to Sean Hannity on Fox News in June. “I’ve had five death threats. I don’t know what the world is coming to, you can’t ask honest, difficult questions that in the end have proved out that Dr. Fauci was not being honest with us, but as a repercussion, my family had white powder sent to our house, and five death threats phone in.”