On Tuesday, Anthony Fauci responded to accusations from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) over his handling of the pandemic, pointing out that the lawmaker is exploiting the crisis to raise campaign funds.
Fauci currently serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and as Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden. Over the course of the pandemic, Paul has frequently rebuked Fauci during congressional testimonies, often while peddling lies about the nature of the virus itself.
In September, for example, Paul suggested that vaccines were ineffective at combating the pandemic, and claimed that better outcomes in places like New York City were due to “community spread.” Fauci refuted that statement, noting that, at most, the city had reached only 22 percent of “herd immunity” through community spread – and that cases were actually being driven down by the high vaccine rate in the area.
This week, Paul continued his unscrupulous criticisms of Fauci. In turn, Fauci used part of his time before a Senate committee on Tuesday to chastise the Kentucky Republican for his continued attacks.
“In usual fashion, senator, you are distorting everything about me,” Fauci said.
Fauci noted that Paul’s comments, and others like them, have led to “threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.”
All the while, Paul has been more than willing to use the crisis to his political advantage, even as thousands of Americans have died from coronavirus each week.
Fauci continued by holding up a picture of himself that was posted on Paul’s campaign website, condemning the senator for using his likeness and the social media hashtag #FireFauci to grow his campaign coffers.
“Why would a Senator want to do this?” Fauci asked. “Go to Rand Paul’s website and you see fire Dr. Fauci with a little box that says ‘contribute here.'”
“You are [using] a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” Fauci added.
Fauci: Why would a Senator want to do this? Go to Rand Paul’s website and you see fire Dr. Fauci with a little box that says contribute here. So you are making catastrophic epidemic for your political gain pic.twitter.com/8dvxZ5ELxp
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 11, 2022
Paul is up for reelection this year, and announced last week that he would be seeking a third term in the Senate. In October, Paul announced that he had raised more than $4 million in campaign funds over the previous quarter for his 2022 race; it’s likely that at least some of those donations came about due to his frequent attacks against Fauci.
Paul has repeatedly spread lies about COVID-19, and was suspended from YouTube in August after he posted content that wrongly – and dangerously – asserted that masks have failed to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Of course, multiple studies have demonstrated the exact opposite of the lawmaker’s claim.