Senator Rand Paul has been called ‘unbalanced’ and ‘delusional’ after he doubled down with a fresh attack on Dr Anthony Fauci following a Senate committee hearing.
The Republican senator, who was accused on Tuesday of ‘twisting’ facts about the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News in a subsequent interview that Dr. Fauci was ‘juvenile’ for accused him of death threats.
“So he blames me for a death threat,” Mr. Paul told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “But when we [a Republican member of Congress] were shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter, not a single Republican stood up and said, oh, it’s Bernie Sanders’ fault.
“We weren’t young enough to do that,” the senator said. “But he [Dr Fauci] came to court today and accused me of somehow instigating a madman. He was referring to a shooting involving Rep. Steve Scalise and a Sanders supporter in 2017.
“Doesn’t he realize that I have people arrested once a month or two who have threatened to attack me, plus I’ve been attacked, and he’s going to come and blame me for his attacks?” It wasn’t fair. It was a cheap shot. But it was a cheap shot from a politician, not a scientist,” he added.
Appearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Dr Fauci faulted Mr Paul for misinforming the public about his work in the fight against Covid.
Dr Fauci said: ‘What happens when he (Mr Paul) comes out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is all of a sudden it turns on the crazies out there and I have … [had] threats against my life, harassment of my family and my children.
The NIAID director said that included an incident on Dec. 21 when a person was arrested in Iowa who allegedly traveled to Washington DC to kill both US President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser.
Mr Paul continued to attack Dr Fauci on Tuesday night saying he was “a political creature. We think he should be charged, but he won’t until there’s an interim election. Elections therefore make a difference.”
“I think he lied to the American public. I think he funded the lab in Wuhan where in all likelihood this virus originated. I think he ignored natural immunity. I think he told people to wear a cloth mask when not working,” the Republican senator said, in remarks that were not based on any scientific understanding.
Dr. Fauci said earlier Tuesday that Mr. Paul was “distorting” the facts about Covid-19 and NIAID’s work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which many Republicans said was to blame for the virus after a function search gain.
Dr Fauci called the claims “nonsense” and “anti-scientific in flavor” as the US had no known role in improving coronaviruses in the Wuhan lab.
On Twitter, dozens of Democratic supporters and Republican critics attacked Mr Paul, with actress Alexandra Billings writing: “Is this some sort of shared psychosis the Republican Party is suffering from? There is no other explanation for this bizarre and dangerously unbalanced behavior. Unless it’s just plain old stupidity.
Others tweeted that the Republican was “delusional”.