Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci again on Sunday after the White House chief medical adviser accused his critics of being “anti-science.”
In an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan mentioned legislation introduced by Republicans that would limit or halt federal funding for so-called “gain-of-function” research, in which viruses are modified to increase their transmissibility and virulence.
Fauci described the issue as a “political football” and decried what he called “a lot of misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies.”
“Anybody [who] spins, lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense, that’s noise,” he added, later saying: “I’m just going to do my job. And I’m going to be saving lives, and they’re going to be lying.”
Cruz (R-Texas) and Paul (R-Ky.) have accused Fauci of lying to Congress about National Institutes of Health funding of gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China — where the coronavirus is thought to have originated and where some believe it accidentally leaked from a lab.
Last month, Cruz called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Fauci after he claimed the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research, contrary to the agency’s later admission.
“I have to laugh at that,” Fauci told Brennan on Sunday when asked about Cruz’s move. “I should be prosecuted? What happened on January 6th, Senator?”
Cruz responded on Twitter, calling Fauci “an unelected technocrat who has distorted science and facts in order to exercise authoritarian control over millions of Americans.”
“On May 11, Fauci testified before a Senate Committee that ‘the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’” Cruz wrote. “On October 20, NIH wrote they funded an experiment at the Wuhan lab testing if ‘spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.’ That is gain of function research.
“Fauci’s statement and the NIH’s October 20 letter cannot both be true,” Cruz went on. “The statements are directly contradictory. No amount of ad hominem insults parroting Democrat talking points will get Fauci out of this contradiction.”
Cruz concluded by calling on Fauci to “address the substance—in detail, with specific factual corroboration—or DOJ should consider prosecuting him for making false statements to Congress.”
Paul responded on social media to another part of the “Face the Nation” interview, in which Fauci told Brennan: “Anybody who’s looking at this carefully realizes that there’s a distinct anti-science flavor to this [criticism]. So if they get up and criticize science, nobody’s going to know what they’re talking about. But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize, there’s a person there.
“So it’s easy to criticize,” Fauci added. “But they’re really criticizing science, because I represent science. That’s dangerous.”
“The absolute hubris of someone claiming THEY represent science,” Paul tweeted. “It’s astounding and alarming that a public health bureaucrat would even think to claim such a thing, especially one who has worked so hard to ignore the science of natural immunity.“
The Biden administration has repeatedly stood by Fauci amid the criticism from Republicans, and Fauci denied Sunday that he had thought of resigning at the height of the pandemic last year amid criticism from members of the Trump administration.