dr. Fauci Accuses Senator Rand Paul of Inciting Threats Against Him, Calls Senator Roger Marshall an ‘Idiot’

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, angrily accused a senator on Tuesday of making false charges that lead to threats against him — all to raise political money.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has repeatedly said Fauci is lying about the pandemic and also claimed in a hearing on Tuesday that he was trying to “wipe out” some scientists who disagreed with him.

Paul and other conservative critics have directed their fury at the handling of the pandemic at Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Health for infectious diseases and also President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. Fauci has been in need of increased security since 2020 due to threats and harassment against him and his family.

On Tuesday, Fauci expressed frustration that well into the pandemic, the senator is still “accusing me of things that are completely untrue” and “igniting the lunatics out there.”

He pointed to the arrest last month of a California man arrested for speeding in Iowa and told the sheriff’s deputy he was on his way to the nation’s capital to assassinate a list of rulers, including Fauci. Court documents show that the man, Kuachua Brillion Xiong of Sacramento, had an AR-15-style rifle, ammunition and body armor in the car.

Fauci said Paul’s website has a “fire Dr. Fauci” page and calls for political contributions ranging from $5 to $100.

He accused Paul of using the pandemic “for your political gain,” he said.

The feud overshadowed a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to examine whether policy changes are needed as the US fights the highly contagious variant omicron.

One of the main complaints from Republicans and Democrats alike is an ongoing lack of testing to make it easier for people to see if they have COVID-19 so they can stay at home and not spread it.

“I say to all of you now, the tests have failed,” said an exasperated R-North Carolina Senator, Richard Burr, the highest-ranking member of the committee.

Still, Burr and several other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle also thanked Fauci for his work fighting the pandemic.

But later in Tuesday’s hearing, Fauci lost his temper when Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, accused him of hiding financial disclosure forms required from government officials.

“You’ve been so misinformed it’s extraordinary,” Fauci replied, saying those documents are publicly available upon request. When the exchange ended, you could hear Fauci muttering off-camera, “What an idiot.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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