Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has got to be one of the most arrogant people in the Senate at this point. On Thursday, he yet again went after Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health during a Senate hearing, where Paul claimed that Fauci bore “responsibility” for COVID-19 — which is a deliriously conspiratorial accusation that has no meaningful basis in fact. Paul has consistently tied his claims about Fauci to his concurrent claim that the National Institutes of Health backed “gain of function” research at a lab in China near where COVID-19 first emerged. Although many conservatives sure do like conspiracy theories, Fauci has consistently shut down this notion.
As Paul put it:
‘The NIH did fund gain of function research in Wuhan despite your protestations. You can deny it all you want, but even the Chinese authors of the paper in their paper admit that viruses not found in nature were created and yes, they gained in infectivity. Your persistent denials, though, are not simply a stain on your reputation but are a clear and present danger to the country and to the world… Gain of function research with laboratory-created viruses not found in nature could cause a pandemic even worse the next time.’
Paul accused Fauci of being “unwilling to accept any responsibility for the current pandemic.” Fauci does not bear any “responsibility” for the COVID-19 pandemic, and the insistence that he does hold such a thing is ludicrous.
Fauci began his response to Paul by shutting down his ignorant claims of “gain of function research.” As the doctor explained things:
‘Senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you’ve said. First of all, gain of function is a very nebulous term. We have spent, not us but outside bodies, a considerable amount of effort to give a more precise definition to the type of research that is of concern that might lead to a dangerous situation. You are aware of that. That is called P3C0.’
Paul repeatedly just flat-out interrupted Fauci, showing a lack of interest in having some kind of substantive, fact-based conversation with the official — and in so doing, Paul undercut his own credibility, not that there was much of it left. Paul, to be clear, is (besides his work as a Senator) an ophthalmologist, and for him to sit before Fauci and rant with such a degree of self-confidence is embarrassing.
Fauci eventually added as follows:
‘You have said that I am unwilling to take any responsibility for the current pandemic. I have no responsibility for the current pandemic. The current pandemic, okay? Number two. You said the overwhelming amount of evidence indicates that’s a lab leak. I believe most card-carrying viral phylogenists and molecular virologists would disagree with you. Even though we leave open all possibilities, it’s much more likely that this was a natural occurrence.’
Watch the whole thing below: