Over the course of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve been a witness to a number of incredibly heated exchanges between members of Congress and the medical community, as guidance and precautions change, and the general public’s confusion grows.
But we’ve never seen anything quite like this…
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) grilled Dr. Anthony Fauci during a hearing on the Chinese coronavirus Tuesday over his prior claim that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has never funded gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Paul’s presentation triggered President Biden’s chief medical adviser, who refused to retract his May 11 statement and instead snapped at the Kentucky senator, brazenly telling Paul, “you do not know what you are talking about.”
“Dr. Fauci, as you are aware it is a crime to lie to Congress,” Paul began during the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions hearing Tuesday, reminding Fauci of his previous remarks to the committee on May 11th, during which the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director stated that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“And yet, gain-of-function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute … and was funded by the NIH,” Paul said, citing Wuhan Virology paper entitled, “Discovery of a Rich Gene Pool of Bat SARS-Related Coronaviruses.”
Then things took a nasty turn:
“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 0f function — let me finish!” he said as Paul interjected.
“You take an animal virus and you increase this transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain of function?” Paul asked.
“Yeah that is correct, and 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,” he said as Paul interjected again.
“This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says that scientific research that increases the transmissibility among animals is gain of function. They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and they increase their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain of function?” Paul asked.
“It is not,” Fauci said as Paul continued.
“It’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul added.
Footage of the exchange was soon going viral on Twitter.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.”
— Dr. Fauci after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accuses him of lying to Congress about gain-of-function research in Wuhan lab. pic.twitter.com/aGhn3ua9r0
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021
Rand Paul has been a rather vocal elected official on the subject of the coronavirus, often suggesting that the federal response to the pandemic has been overblown or overreaching.