Fauci and Rand Paul exchange “lying” accusations regarding gain-of-function research
Top government epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul exchanged accusations of “lying” in regards to gain-of-function research at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, maintaining the long-standing rivalry between the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and the Kentucky senator.
Fauci and Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are likely to be scrutinized whether or not the United States should reinstate health measures such as mask mandates as the delta COVID variant runs rampant across the country.
Senator Rand Paul edged closer to accusing Fauci of lying to Congress in his previous testimonies where he denied that the claim that the NIAID had funded gain-of-function research in China, stating that such a deed has never been done. Paul, citing a research paper regarding bat coronaviruses, stated that the U.S. money was spent on the controversial and hazardous research- a claim that was vociferously objected to by Fauci.
“I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said. About the research that was cited by Senator Paul, he mentioned that is it was”judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function.”
Fauci added: “You do not know what you are talking about quite frankly and I want to say that officially.”
Paul responded that the NIH’s judgment “defines… away” work that essentially was gain-of-function.”
“You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility,” Paul added
Both Walensky and Fauci are scheduled for an appearance before the Senate Health, Education, Labor % Pensions (HELP) Committee, and have gone on to emphasize the vital role of vaccines in stopping the delta variant.
“The message from CDC remains clear… vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” Walensky said.
“The sobering news that you’ve already heard of is the fact that we are not challenged with a very difficult and problematic variant referred to as the Delta variant,” Fauci said. “The fact is that, however… is that our vaccines… are very effective against this variant.”
Meanwhile, Fauci categorically objected to any suggestion by Senator Paul (which the senator denies implying) that the NIH or himself were in some way responsible for the COVID-19 virus, stating that the virus that was a product of the research would be “molecularly impossible” as a source of the virus.
“You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual[s], I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here, senator, it is you,” Fauci said.