Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange over accusations passed between them during a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
The two have a long history of intense clashes.
During the hearing, Fauci accused Paul of personally attacking him for “political gain” and “distorting everything he says.” The National Institutes of Health director also claimed that Paul was guilty of inspiring a recent attempt on his life by a crazed California man in December.
The scientist responded with anger when the Senator suggested he used his $420,000 salary to “takedown” scientists with whom he disagrees. He also became angered when Paul called him the “lead architect” in the government’s COVID response that led to more than 800,000 American deaths.
For his part, Paul referenced emails containing an exchange between Fauci and his boss, Dr. Francis Collins. The emails were published by Republican lawmakers early Tuesday.
In the emails, Fauci and Collins dismissed a report that the pandemic originated in the Wuhan lab.
Paul also accused Fauci of “using government resources to center and to destroy the reputations of other scientists who disagree with him.”
“Do you really think it’s appropriate to use your $420,000 salary to attack science?” Paul asked of Fauci.
Fauci gave an angered response to Paul’s accusations, saying he was “completely incorrect.”
The pair continued to speak over one another during the fiery exchange, with little effective dialog.
“I think in usual fashion, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said.
Paul continued his comments towards Fauci, claiming he had a desire to “tear down people.”
Paul has been one of Fauci’s most staunch critics throughout the pandemic. Paul has accused him of lying to Congress over the use of NIH directed virology research in Wuhan.
The Senator continually claims that Fauci’s primary goal of promoting vaccines, versus treatments and natural immunity, has cost innumerable lives during the pandemic’s two-year history.
Fauci said in December that vaccinated and boosted Americans have a roughly 75 percent protection against the Omicron variant. He also stated that some monoclonal antibody treatments wouldn’t work against Omicron.
“Unfortunately, but understandably with the degree of mutations that we have with Omicron, some of the monoclonal antibodies shown on the slide here very likely will not work against Omicron and those are shown in the first two monoclonal antibodies,” Fauci said on MSNBC on December 22.
The CDC continues to recommend that all people aged 12 and older be fully vaccinated and boosted, even if they’ve had COVID previously.