Anthony Fauci lashed out at Rand Paul during a Senate hearing on Tuesday when he accused the Kentucky Republican of being a “liar” who “don’t know what you’re talking about” when it comes to the origins of COVID.
‘Dr. Fauci, knowing it is a crime to lie to Congress, will you retract your May 11 statement claiming the NIH? [National Institute of Health] never funded job gain research in Wuhan?’ Paul asked the nation’s top immunologist and Joe Biden’s top COVID advisor.
“Senator Paul, I have never lied to Congress and I am not withdrawing that statement,” Fauci retorted into the heated discussion on Capitol Hill during a Senate Health Committee hearing.
The duo have clashed publicly many times, both in the Senate and outside of it, over NIH funds.
When Paul Fauci asked if taking an animal virus and increasing its transmissibility to humans isn’t the definition of “function gain,” Fauci said, “That’s right.”
“And Senator Paul, you honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. And I want to say that officially – you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ lamented Fauci as the two started talking at once in front of the hearing room.
Senator Rand Paul had a heated argument with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a hearing when he again urged the country’s top immunologist on whether the US was funding profit-or-function research in Wuhan.
“Senator Paul, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Fauci lashed out at Paul, claiming, “If anyone here is lying, Senator, it’s you.”
“You won’t admit the truth,” Paul refuted.
‘You are suggesting that what we did was responsible for the death of individuals (sic). I hate that,’ said Fauci.
‘And it could have been,’ interrupted Paul.
“If anyone’s here, Senator, it’s you,” Fauci said, taking the microphone and pointing at the Kentucky senator.
This isn’t the first time Paul and Fauci have done it in publicly broadcast hearings.
He defended allocating $600,000 to a group called the EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the risk that bat coronaviruses could infect humans.
Paul grilled Fauci in May about the $600,000 in funding allocated to EcoHealth Alliance, which turned around and paid the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study how bat coronavirus could infect humans.
Fauci defended that assignment at a congressional budget committee hearing
The $600,000 in funding was reinstated in August after another prior grant was blocked in April 2020 over security concerns at the Wuhan lab.
During the brief exchange, Paul insisted that the money be used for job gain research. Fauci, however, insisted that the money was not used for this purpose.
“You are completely and completely wrong,” Fauci told Paul during the hearing. “The NIH never has and does not now fund job gain research at the Wuhan Institute.”
Paul gave Fauci the chance to retract his May 11 statement claiming that the U.S. was not funding feature earnings research with his $600,000 grant by saying, “Dr. Fauci, who knows that lying to Congress is a crime, will you retract your statement?’
Gain of function research looks at both the transmission of diseases between animals and humans and is a way for scientists to alter organisms and diseases to study how they can become more deadly or more transmissible.
The Kentucky senator has repeatedly questioned Fauci about job gains a few times — and the US indirectly funded that investigation in China. The theory has emerged in conservative circles as a possible answer to the origins of COVID-19.
Paul, an ophthalmologist before being elected to Congress, was the first known senator to test positive for COVID-19 in March 2020 — the same month the country went into lockdown in response to the rapidly spreading virus.
After completing quarantine and returning to work, Paul refused to wear a mask at the Capitol, claiming he was now “immune” because he had already contracted and recovered from COVID-19.
Last month, Paul also accused Fauci of lying and demanded that he be fired after a large number of his emails were made public.
Paul alleged to Fox News in early June that thousands of emails revealed by Buzzfeed News and the Washington Post showed that Fauci may have been partially responsible for the development of COVID-19.