Sparring partners Anthony Fauci and Rand Paul threw themselves back into the Senate this week.
Republican senator and federal government’s leading infectious disease expert clashed emails warned of possible ‘function gain’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the emergence of Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic.
Mr. Paul asked Mr. Fauci that it was appropriate to use his $420,000 salary to attack scientists who disagreed with the science of Mr. Fauci, who has become the public face of the Covid response from the federal government.
“In the normal way, Senator, you’re twisting everything about me,” Fauci said. “There you go again, you just do the same thing every hearing,” he added.
The latest in sole proprietorship’s long-running battle fueled more squabbles between the two, with Mr. Fauci growing increasingly frustrated with questions from some Republicans.
Here are five times the couple clashed during the Covid-19 pandemic:
‘I have no responsibility for the current pandemic’
In the November 2020 Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Mr. Paul confronted Mr. Fauci with a letter from the National Institute of Health that claimed to contradict previous testimony that the agency never investigated “job gains” in Wuhan. has funded.
The letter said experiments in Wuhan, funded by the NIH through grants to the EcoHealth Alliance, created viruses that made mice sicker than those infected with the original version.
“As sometimes happens in science, this was an unexpected result of the study, as opposed to something the researchers wanted to do,” the letter said.
That distinction, according to the NIH, meant it fell short of the definition of “gain-of-function” research, which it renamed the newly coined term “improved pathogens of pandemic potential (ePPP) research.”
Mr. Paul asked Mr. Fauci whether he would resign in light of the NIH letter, which claimed to show that he was lying to Congress when he claimed that they never funded such research in China.
“You have said that I do not want to take any responsibility for the current pandemic. I have no responsibility for the current pandemic,” said Mr Fauci.
“As usual, and I have great respect for this body of the Senate, and it makes me very uncomfortable to have to say anything, but he has a glaring flaw in what he says,” Dr Fauci continued.
Mr. Paul fired back: “History will find out by itself:”.
Senator Rand Paul and Fauci Clash During Senate Hearing
“If anyone is lying here, senator, it’s you”
Mr Fauci officially submitted to the Senate report in July 2021 that Mr Paul “honestly” does not know what he is talking about.
Mr. Paul suggested that Mr. Fauci would withdraw his May 11 statement that the NIH has never funded job gain research in Wuhan, “knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress.”
In response, Fauci said he “never lied” to Congress and that he will not withdraw the statement.
He snapped at Mr. Fauci to “let me finish” his explanation of how his staff determined that the research referred to did not fall under the definition of profit-or-function research.
“Senator Paul, you honestly don’t know what you’re talking about, and I want to say that officially,” said Dr. Fauci. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“If anyone is lying here, Senator, it’s you,” he added.
Anthony Fauci Loses His Patience With Senator Rand Paul
‘You are completely and completely wrong’
Paul directly accused the National Institute of Health of funding research at a lab in Wuhan that resulted in the increased transmissibility of viruses, despite a ban on so-called gain of function research in the US since 2014.
“Can you imagine that a SARs virus that has been juiced and that has had viral proteins added to it would be on the spike protein, if that were accidentally released?” asked Mr. Paul.
Mr. Fauci replied that Mr. Paul is “totally and completely false” and that the NIH has never funded research that they define as “feature gain” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And also, “if so, it’s on the guidelines and it’s being performed in North Carolina, not China”.
“I have no record of what the Chinese may have done, and I am fully in favor of further investigation into what happened in China,” Mr Fauci said. “I’ll reiterate, however, the NIH and the NIAID have categorically not funded any gain-of-function research to be conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
dr. Fauci spars with Rand Paul over disinformation about Covid
‘Here we go again with the theater’
The pair returned to jousting in March 2021, when Dr Fauci dismissed claims that his pandemic guidelines were political theater by stating that it was actually Mr Paul who went back to the theater.
Mr Paul asked Mr Fauci why it was still necessary to wear masks after receiving the recently released vaccine, which at the time was claimed to prevent the transmission of the virus.
“If we don’t spread the infection, isn’t it just theatre? You have the vaccine and you are wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?” asked Mr. Paul.
A visibly irritated Dr. Fauci replied, “Here we go again with the theater. Let’s get to the facts.”
Fauci said the threat of new variants resistant to the vaccine was a “good reason for a mask.”
Mr. Paul continued to intervene, repeating “You have been vaccinated and you are parading around in two masks for show!”
Dr Fauci Clashes With ‘Very Incorrect’ Rand Paul During Senate Hearing
‘You are not listening’
In September 2020, Mr. Fauci lost his temper and told Mr. Paul he was “not listening” during a Senate hearing on the US response to the pandemic.
Mr Paul poked fun at Mr Fauci by saying the Covid expert was a “huge fan” of Andrew Cuomo, who jumped and said the former governor has done an amazing job despite the scandal-plagued pandemic response in New York.
“You misunderstood, Senator, and you have repeatedly done so in the past,” said Mr. Fauci. “They were hit really badly and made some mistakes.
He went on to say that the positivity rate in testing in New York was about 1 percent because of official guidelines for masks, social distancing and hand washing.
When Mr. Paul suggested that New York could have achieved herd immunity, a frustrated Mr. Fauci said, “This always happens to Senator Rand”.
“You’re not listening to what the director of the CDC said it’s about 22 percent in New York. If you believe that 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you are alone in that.”
dr. Fauci tells Rand Paul he’s “completely wrong” about Wuhan’s lab theory