Like Batman and the Joker, it’s starting to feel like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul are doomed to battle each other forever. For the record, Fauci is clearly Batman in this scenario while Senator Paul is the unhinged madman who seems hellbent on gunning for Fauci with some sort of nonsense. This time around, Fauci had to dress down Paul during a congressional hearing on Tuesday morning where the senator accused Fauci of lying to Congress about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding “gain of function” research that led to the coronavirus pandemic.
To be clear, Paul is attempting to push what’s known as the “lab leak theory.” At its most extreme, the conspiracy theory posits that COVID-19 was created in a lab as some sort of bioweapon and then either accidentally or purposefully leaked. However, most scientific experts say that the prevailing evidence shows that COVID occurred naturally and was not the result of gain of function research.
That didn’t stop Paul from attempting to pull a gotcha move on Fauci by claiming that a 2017 research paper shows that the NIH did fund gain of function research. In reality, the paper did not prove that, and a heated Fauci dismantled Paul’s argument, which eventually led to a shouting match between the two.
RAND PAUL: Knowing it's a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement where you said the NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan?
FAUCI: I've never lied before Congress & I don't retract that statement … you don't know what you're talking about pic.twitter.com/UtWoO2KHsb
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 20, 2021
As the argument continued, Fauci made it a point to note that Senator Paul has a history of coming at the infectious disease expert with misinformation. In a notable escalation, Fauci then accused Paul of being the one who is lying to Congress. Via USA Today:
“You’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul said.
After being told to let Fauci speak, Fauci responded, “You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally resent that, and if anyone is lying here senator, it is you.”
When asked by Sen. Tina Smith if he had any other comments on Paul’s claim, Fauci said, “This is a pattern that Senator Paul has been doing now at multiple hearings based on no reality.”
Having enough of Paul’s outbursts, Fauci ended the discussion. “I have never lied certainly not before Congress. Case closed.”