No lawmaker has attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci as consistently and ardently as Rand Paul. The anti-vax senator from Kentucky has not only bashed the nation’s top infectious disease expert as an egomaniacal tyrant destroying America, but as someone who is responsible for the disease existing in the first place. Fauci shed some light on why Paul might be spreading lies about him during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
“Why would a senator want to do this?” Fauci said. “Go to Rand Paul’s website, and you see ‘Fire Dr. Fauci’ with a little box that says contribute here. You can do $5, $10, $20, $100. So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.”
Here’s the full exchange:
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Fauci exposing one of Paul’s motivations — if not his only motivation — in attacking him came during a heated exchange between the senator and the scientist. Such exchanges are now customary whenever Fauci appears before the Senate. He was particularly exasperated as ever on Tuesday given how Omicron is causing case rates to skyrocket. “We are here at a committee to look a virus now that has killed nearly 900,000 people,” Fauci said. “And the purpose of the committee was to try to get things out, how we can help the American public. And you keep coming back to personal attacks on me.”
Fauci eventually dropped the hammer, explaining that the harassment of his family and death threats against himself before recounting how a man who was arrested last month in Iowa was on his way from California to Washington, D.C., to kill Fauci and others. He wondered why a senator would tell lies to inspire such animosity against someone who is basically just sharing the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance on social distancing, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated. The reason is because Paul thinks it’s good for him politically, and there’s no clearer proof than the billing his #FireFauci campaign gets on his website next to all those donation buttons.
Paul has been one of the Republican Party’s most prolific superspreaders of Covid misinformation in addition to attacking Fauci. YouTube has removed several of Paul’s Covid videos for violating their policy on Covid misinformation, prompting Paul to announce earlier this year that he’s leaving the platform. A few days later, he essentially endorsed the Omicron, describing the variant as “nature’s vaccine” during an appearance on Fox News.
As Paul was badgering Fauci on Tuesday, the United States broke the record for people hospitalized with Covid. The disease has now killed over 835,000 Americans.
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