Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci Argue During Tense COVID-19 Hearing

The Kentucky senator and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert clashed in a COVID-19 hearing today over a series of accusations surrounding Rand Paul’s political attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Sen. Rand Paul questions Fauci during a hearing on January 11, 2022. Credit: Getty Images
Sen. Rand Paul questions Fauci during a hearing on January 11, 2022. Credit: Getty Images

Infectious disease expert and White House Chief Medical Adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) engaged in tense talks today during a Senate health hearing, after Fauci called out Paul for leveling political attacks against him.

“What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden 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,” Fauci said. He added that earlier in December, a man driving a vehicle containing an assault weapon and ammunition was arrested after disclosing that he was driving to Washington, D.C. to assassinate Fauci.

Paul, who was an ophthalmologist before embarking on a political career, also allegedly accused Fauci and former National Institute of Health Director Francis Collins of disagreeing with scientists who believe COVID-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.

“Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as fringe and take them down, and not in journals in lay press. This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci,” Paul said.

Fauci responded by remarking that Paul was “distorting” the discussion as he “usually” does. Following the hearing, Paul tweeted a sardonic reference to how it unfolded, writing, “Dr. Fauci and I finally agreed on something in our Senate hearing today,” alongside an image from Fox News in which Fauci is holding a printed copy of a screengrab from Paul’s campaign website. It reads, “Fire Dr. Fauci.” In March of 2020, Paul became the first known senator to test positive for coronavirus.