Once again, Dr. Anthony Fauci is testifying to a Congressional Committee, and once again, Senator Rand Paul has used the opportunity to attack him regarding the pandemic, medical research, and his employment in the United States government. Speaking to the Senate GOP Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, Fauci attempted to address the Gish gallop of accusations and insinuations, ultimately admitting there were too many false claims to pick apart in a limited time, but affirming that Paul is “egregiously incorrect” in much of it.
Pieces of the exchange have gone viral, with Paul demanding that Fauci either accept responsibility for the current pandemic or resign, and of the moment when he seems to agree that history will find him to be incorrect, but you can view the full eight minutes below via CSPAN.
WATCH: Complete exchange between Sen. @RandPaul and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
FAUCI: "It makes me very uncomfortable to have to say something, but he is egregiously incorrect in what he says. Thank you."
PAUL: "History will figure that out on its own." pic.twitter.com/5R7Auaylzv
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 4, 2021
In it, Paul makes a number of claims, including accusing Fauci of “redefining” gain-of-function research in order to dodge guilt, saying that the NIH is funding research that is a “clear and present danger,” and inaccurately linking gain-of-function research to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because gain-of-function research with laboratory-created viruses not found in nature could cause a pandemic even worse the next time. We’re suffering today from one that has a mortality of approximately 1%. They’re experimenting with viruses that have mortality between 15 and 50%.”
Despite carefully avoiding an actual claim that the COVID-19 virus was lab-created, Paul’s rhetoric manages to give that impression, and he goes on to scold Fauci for being “unwilling to accept any responsibility for the current pandemic,and refusing to take any steps to prevent gain-of-function research from possibly releasing an even more deadly virus,” as well as later referring to “another lab leak.”
Fauci responds to Paul, assuring him that he takes no responsibility for the current pandemic for a good reason: he’s not responsible for it. He also tries to explain gain-of-function research in simple enough terms to make it clear why Paul is wrong — but the Senator speaks over him, attacking further.
Finally, Fauci is given the opportunity to speak, and he says, “There are so many things that were egregious misrepresentation here…that I don’t think I’ll be able to refute all of them, but just a couple of them.”
The following transcript is lightly edited and omits Paul’s continued interruptions.
“You have said that I am unwilling to take responsibility for the current pandemic. I have no responsibility for the current pandemic…Number two, you said that overwhelming amount of evidence indicates a lab leak. Most card-carrying viral phylogenists and molecular virologists would disagree with you. Even though we leave open all possibilities, it’s much more likely that this was a natural occurrence. Third, you made a statement just a moment ago that’s completely incorrect. where you say we continue to support research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. I don’t have any more to say, except that as usual, I have a great deal of respect for this body of the Senate and it makes me very uncomfortable to have to say something, but he is egregiously incorrect in what he says.”
“History will figure that out on it’s own,” Paul responds, perhaps not the parting shot he was aiming for.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com