“‘What a moron. Jesus Christ.’”
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered testimony from critical Republican senators who accused the government’s top infectious disease expert of trying to “take down” some scientists who disagreed with him. But it was something that Fauci didn’t mean for the Senate to hear that may have gotten much attention.
On a live mic, Fauci could be heard remarking, “What a moron.” The statement came after a Republican questioner, Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas, had just accused him of hiding financial disclosure forms required of public officials. “You’re so misinformed that it’s extraordinary,” Fauci responded, saying those documents are publicly available upon request.
Fauci also had a strong back-and-forth with Sen. Rand Paul. The Kentucky Republican has long been a vocal critic of Fauci, who has accused Paul of personal attacks in order to fundraise.
Fauci said Paul’s website has a “fire Dr. Fauci” page and includes a call for political contributions ranging from $5 to $100. He said that Paul has used Fauci criticism for political reasons.
“There you go again, you just do the same thing every hearing,” Fauci said, accusing Paul of stirring up anger — something Fauci said is causing his life to be threatened.
Fauci expressed frustration that this far into the pandemic the senator still “accuses me of things that are completely untrue” and “kindles the crazies out there.”
He pointed to the arrest last month of a California man who was stopped for speeding in Iowa, and who told a sheriff’s deputy he was on the way to the nation’s capital to kill a list of people in power — including Fauci. Court documents show the man, Kuachua Brillion Xiong of Sacramento, had an AR-15 style rifle, ammunition and body armor in the car.
Paul, meanwhile, said that Fauci had tried to “create a quick and devastating published takedown” of three doctors from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford in emails with a fellow doctor, Francis Collins. “Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as fringe and take them down, and not in journals in lay press,” Paul said. “This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci.”
Paul also continued his accusations on Twitter:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.