The Republican senator, who was accused of “distorting” facts about the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director on Tuesday, told Fox News in following interview that Dr Fauci was “juvenile” for blaming him for death threats.
“So, he’s blaming me for a death threat,” Mr Paul told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “But when we [a Republican member of Congress] were shot at by a Bernie Sanders supporter, not one Republican stood up and said, oh, this is Bernie Sanders’s fault”.
“We were not juvenile enough to do that,” the senator said. “But he [Dr Fauci] came to the hearing today and accused me of somehow inciting some lunatic person.” He was referring to a shooting incident involving Representative Steve Scalise and a Sanders supporter in 2017.
“Does he not realise I have people arrested once every month or two who have threatened to attack me, plus I have been attacked, and he’s going to come and blame his attacks on me? It wasn’t fair. It was a cheap shot. But it was a cheap shot by a politician, not a scientist,” he added.
Appearing in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Dr Fauci blamed Mr Paul for misinforming the public about his work fighting Covid.
Dr Fauci argued: “What happens when he (Mr Paul) 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 ... [had] threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children.”
The NIAID director said that included an incident 21 December when a person was arrested in Iowa who was allegedly travelling to Washington DC to kill both US president Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser.
Mr Paul continued attacking Dr Fauci on Tuesday night by saying he was “a political creature. We think he should be put up on charges but he’s not going to until there’s an intervening election. So elections do make a difference”.
“I think he has lied to the American public. I think that he funded the lab in Wuhan that in all likelihood this virus came from. I think he as ignored natural immunity. I think he has told people to wear a cloth mask when they don’t work,” the Republcian senator said, in remarks that were not based in any scientific understanding.
Dr Fauci said earlier on Tuesday that Mr Paul was “distorting” facts about Covid-19 and the NIAID’s work with the Wuhan institute of virology, who many Republicans have argued was to blame for the virus following gain of function research.
Dr Fauci has described such allegations as “nonsense” and of an “anti-scientific flavour”, with the US having had no known role in the enhancement of coronaviruses in Wuhan’s lab.
On Twitter, dozens of Democrat supporters and Republican critics hit out at Mr Paul, with actress Alexandra Billings writing: “Is this some sort of shared psychosis the Republican party is suffering from? There can be no other explanation for this bizarre and dangerously unbalanced behavior. Unless it’s just plain old ordinary stupidity.”
Others tweeted that the Republican was “delusional”.
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