Scientists rally to defend Fauci from ‘inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded’ criticism from GOP lawmakers

Scientists ‘deplore’ personal attacks on chief medical adviser in ‘politically polarised times’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 13 January 2022 20:25 GMT
Senator Rand Paul and Fauci clash during Senate hearing

Dozens of scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter of support for Dr Anthony Fauci following the fierce criticism he has faced from Republican lawmakers this week.

In the letter, Dr Fauci, one of the leading experts on infectious diseases in the US and the White House chief medical adviser, is lauded for his 40 years of service to the country through HIV, ebola, and now Covid.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Politico, reads: “We deplore the personal attacks on Dr Fauci. The criticism is inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics. It is a distraction from what should be the national focus — working together to finally overcome a pandemic that is killing about 500,000 people a year.”

“We are grateful for Dr Fauci’s dedication and tireless efforts to help the country through this pandemic and other health crises,” the scientists write.

The letter came about following heated exchanges with senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Roger Marshall of Kansas during a Senate hearing on the federal response to the new variants of Covid-19.

“This happens all the time,” said Dr Fauci to Senator Paul. “You personally attack me, with absolutely not a shred of evidence of anything you say. So I would like to make something clear to the committee: You’re doing this for political reasons.”

The doctor was also caught on a hot mic calling Senator Marshall “a moron” during an exchange in which the Kansas lawmaker said he had been unable to find Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure forms — seeming to imply that he was in some way profiting from his government role.

“I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question,” Dr Fauci said to Mr Marshall. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so.”

In the letter, Dr Fauci’s contemporaries say: “He has our unreserved respect and trust as a scientist and a national leader.”

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Fauci has provided the American political leadership and the public with sagacious counsel in these most difficult of times,” they write. “His advice has been as well informed as data and the rapidly evolving circumstances allowed. And importantly, he has given his advice with humility, being clear about what we know and what is unknown, but requires judgment. He has consistently emphasised the importance of mask-wearing, social distancing, and vaccination. These are standard and necessary public health measures that we all support.”

The letter continues: “Scientists can and do express dissenting viewpoints, but a right to an opinion does not mean the opinion is right. We are grateful that Dr Fauci has consistently stated the science in a way that represents the facts as they emerge, without unwarranted speculation.”

“Sadly, in these politically polarised times where misinformation contaminates the United States’ response to the pandemic, routine public health measures have become unnecessarily controversial, undermining the effectiveness of our country’s response.”

Politico reports that the letter was initiated by former Biden transition adviser Ezekiel Emanual and Cornell University’s John Moore.

Included in the roster of signatories are former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican; three Nobel Laureates; the former president of Princeton University, and many other notable academics, doctors, and scientists.

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