Anthony Fauci is a veteran immunologist who has spent 50 years protecting the health of the American public. Senator Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist who, since 2005, has not been certified to practice medicine by any board recognized by the state of Kentucky, and reportedly has not been certified by any medical board at all since 2011. Yet strangely, since the coronavirus began, Paul has decided that he knows more about infectious diseases than Fauci, whose literal title is “director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”
In May 2020, Paul claimed that stay-at-home orders, put in place to prevent Americans from dying a horrible death, amounted to a “dictatorship.” In September 2020, when roughly 200,000 people in the U.S. had died from the virus, he snivelingly asked Fauci if the NIH chief had any “second thoughts” about the CDC‘s mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines. In May 2021, as Joe Biden pushed the country‘s vaccine holdouts to get inoculated, he proudly and ignorantly declared, “I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity.” And on Tuesday, he was back to trying to absurdly suggest that Fauci basically caused the coronavirus pandemic.
Referring to his previous attempt to pin the origins of COVID-19 on Fauci, because the federal government had indirectly contributed funding to a Wuhan lab, Paul asked the veteran immunologist during a congressional hearing, “Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11th, where you claimed that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan?“ (“Gain-of-function“ is a type of medical research that alters a disease in a way that increases transmissibility.)
Having apparently long since lost his patience with the troll from Kentucky, Fauci responded: “Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you were referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function…. Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially, you do not know what you are talking about…. I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator, because if you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible…. And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual. I totally resent that. If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.”
Apparently having realized the line of questioning hadn‘t panned out as he‘d hoped, Paul fled to the warm embrace of Fox News and, during an interview with Sean Hannity that night, claimed that he will “be sending a letter to Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because [Fauci] has lied to Congress. We have scientists that will line up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain-of-function. He’s doing this because he has a self-interest to cover his tracks and to cover his connection to Wuhan lab.“
Paul‘s ridiculous attempt to blame Fauci for the pandemic, and continued refusal to get vaccinated, comes as COVID-19 cases have surged in the U.S., and hospitalizations and deaths are almost exclusively among the unvaccinated. As an Alabama doctor wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday, “I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.” But good luck with your detective work, Dr. Paul!
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— How Yulia Navalnaya Became Russia’s Real First Lady
— Rupert Murdoch Buried Trump’s Election Night Dreams in a Shallow Grave
— Ivanka Trump Is Next on the Chopping Block
— A Mass Labor Shortage Is Leaving Hamptonites to Fend for Themselves
— The Secret History of Gavin McInnes
— Trump and DeSantis Are on a Collision Course
— Inside the Rash of Unexplained Deaths at Fort Hood
— The Kushner Family Is Cozying Up to Nikki Haley
— From the Archive: Miami Beach, Waterworld
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.