The rivalry between Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, escalated during a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill.
The latest tense exchange between the two occurred during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee hearing.
Paul and Fauci once again sparred over whether Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID funded gain-of-function research at the infamous Wuhan Virology Lab. Gain-of-function refers to a procedure by which strains of virus present in animals are also manipulated to transmit to humans. Fauci has denied that his agency knowingly funded gain-of-function research, something that Paul believes is a “lie.”
The Kentucky senator once again called on Fauci to resign over gain-of-function following a contentious exchange.
“Dr. Fauci, I don’t expect you today to admit that you approved of NIH funding for a gain of function research in Wuhan, but your repeated denials have worn thin,” said Paul.
“The facts are clear,” the Kentucky senator continued. “The NIH did fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan despite your protestations.”
Paul pressed further when he said that Fauci’s “persistent denials…are not simply a strain on your reputation but are a clear and present danger to the country and to the world.”
Fauci fired back. The Doctor claimed, “that the viruses studied at Wuhan that the NIH funded “could not possibly have turned into SARS-CoV-2,” something that Paul never claimed.
Rather, Sen. Paul is worried that the research in Wuhan “could cause a pandemic even worse the next time.”
Paul then asked Fauci: “Will you today finally take some responsibility for funding gain of function research in Wuhan?”
To which Fauci fired back: “Senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you’ve said. Gain of function is a very nebulous term that outside parties have worked on assigning a more precise definition.”
In a previous hearing, Paul asked Fauci if he had lied under oath about the gain-of-function funding. Fauci responded by saying that Sen. Paul “didn’t know what he was talking about.”
The senator asked, “Knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11 where you claim that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan?”
Fauci responded to the senator, saying, “I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement.”
Paul concluded the exchange during the most recent hearing by calling for Fauci to “resign.”