Even more recently, as Fauci shared during the hearing, another person was arrested while on their way from California to D.C., with an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition, who told police he was on his way to the capital to “kill Dr. Fauci.” Terrifying! People’s words—even if they’re conspiracy-laden smear campaigns most of us immediately recognize as false—can have real-world effects. (Fauci has received increased security protection since 2020, but these threats are legitimately scary nonetheless.)
But back to the bulk of the hearing.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Paul launched into a familiar round of attacks against Fauci, characterizing him as someone who would claim to “unilaterally” represent science. “A planner who believes he is the science leads to an arrogance that justifies in his mind using government resources to smear and to destroy the reputations of other scientists who disagree with him,” Paul ranted before bringing up Fauci’s salary.
“Do you think it’s appropriate,” Paul said. “To use your $420,000 salary to attack scientists that disagree with you?” (Mind you, the Paul family tried to make money off of the pandemic.)
“That’s not what went on,” Fauci replied. “There you go again. You do the same thing every hearing.”
“We are here at a committee to look at a virus now that has killed almost 900,000 people,” Fauci stated. “And you keep coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance to reality.” Fauci referenced the last time he participated in a hearing like this when Rand falsely suggested Fauci was to blame for 5 million deaths. Fauci asked why Paul would be doing that—and here’s the answer he supplied to his excellent rhetorical question.
“The first is, it distracts from what we’re all trying to do here today, is get our arms around the epidemic and pandemic we’re dealing with, not something imaginary,” Fauci stated. “Number two, what happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue, is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family, and my children, with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me.”
Holding up printed pages from Paul’s website (which include an enormous photo of Fauci’s face), Fauci said: “So I asked myself: ‘Why would the senator want to do this?”
Fauci again answers his own question by telling people to go to Paul’s reelection campaign website and check out the little “Fire Dr. Fauci” box that encourages people to contribute money. (The site, mind you, suggests that Fauci has been “lying about everything from masks to the contagiousness of the virus,” among other lies.)
“You are milking a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” Fauci said.
Here’s some of their back and forth, originally aired on CSPAN.
If you want a refresher of another time Fauci absolutely slammed Paul, my colleague Hunter’s write-up from July 2021 is an absolute breath of fresh air.