Kentucky Senator Rand Paul got into another heated exchange with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.
The senator accused the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases of changing the definition of “gain of function” research on the agency’s website to “cover your a–.”
Rand Paul to Dr. Fauci: “Until you accept responsibility, we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment. You won’t admit that it’s dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign.” pic.twitter.com/pwa3wbQ1jq
— The Hill (@thehill) November 4, 2021
“Dr. Fauci, I don’t expect you today to admit that you approved of NIH funding for a gain of function research in Wuhan, but your repeated denials have worn thin,” Paul told Fauci.
“The facts are clear. The NIH did fund gain of function research in Wuhan despite your protestations,” continued Paul, adding that Fauci’s “persistent denials … are not simply a stain on your reputation but are clear and present danger to the country and to the world.”
Fauci claimed that the viruses studied in Wuhan with funding from the NIH “could not possibly have turned into SARS-CoV-2” — which Paul argued was misleading because that was not the allegation he made. What he had said was that their work “could cause a pandemic even worse the next time.”
“You appear to have learned nothing from this pandemic,” Paul asserted. “Will you, today, finally take some responsibility for funding gain-of-function research” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci responded by saying, “senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you’ve said.” He went on to claim that “gain of function” is “a very nebulous term” and needs “a more precise definition.”
The NIH website previously had a section that discussed and defined gain of function research, saying that it is “a type of research that modifies a biological agent so that it confers new or enhanced activity to that agent.” That section was removed from the website on October 20.
Paul stated that Fauci and the NIH were making an attempt at “defining away gain of function … saying it doesn’t exist because you change the definition” on the website.
“There’s the preponderance of evidence now points towards this coming from the lab and what you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your ass,” Paul asserted.
Fauci argued that the current definition of gain of function research was created by outside parties, to which Sen. Paul asserted that he is evading responsibility.
“You won’t admit that it’s dangerous. And for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign,” Paul said.
WATCH THE FULL EXCHANGE HERE: