Dr. Anthony Fauci was overheard on a hot mic calling a Republican senator a ‘moron’ after a particularly heated line of questioning during a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Kansas Senator Roger Marshall was demanding that President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser disclose information about his financial assets, noting his hefty government paycheck.
An exasperated Fauci told him multiple times that his financial disclosures are public knowledge.
After Marshall’s time was up, the infectious disease expert could be heard sighing: ‘What a moron, Jesus Christ.’
He and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Wallensky appeared before the Senate panel to defend the Biden administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it nears the end of its second year.
Marshall displayed a blown up check made out to Fauci for $434,312 and demanded he present his already-public financial disclosures — implicitly accusing the longtime medical expert of possible insider trading.
‘I don’t understand why you’re asking me that question. My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so for the last 37 years or so,’ Fauci replied.
Fauci, like most senior government officials, is bound by law to disclose his financial information on an annual basis. There have never been any evidence reported that Fauci has run into trouble with the statute or neglected to follow it.
Marshall pressed him again, ‘But the big tech giants are doing an incredible job of keeping it from being public. We’ll continue to look for it. Where would we find it?’
Marshall displayed a blown-up phony check made out to Anthony Fauci during a bizarre line of questioning about his financial assets
‘All you have to do is ask for it. You’re so misinformed. It’s extraordinary,’ a bewildered Fauci said.
But the senator was undeterred.
‘Why am I misinformed? This is a huge issue. Wouldn’t you agree with me that you see things before members of Congress would see them, so that there’s an air of appearance that maybe some shenanigans are going on,’ he said.
An exhausted Fauci exploded: ‘What are you talking about?’
Marshall claimed his office couldn’t find Fauci’s financial disclosures.
Fauci also accused Republican Senator Rand Paul of personally attacking him for ‘political gain, distorting ‘everything’ he says’ and inspiring ‘crazies’ to want to kill him during another tense battle in a hearing on Tuesday.
The White House chief medical adviser erupted at his nemesis for suggesting he was using his $420,000 salary, the highest in the federal government, to ‘take down’ scientists he disagrees with and for calling him ‘lead architect’ in the pandemic response that’s led to 800,000 Americans dying under President Biden.
Paul, who has called for Fauci to be fired and prosecuted, referenced emails published by Republican lawmakers on Tuesday containing an exchange between Fauci and his boss, Dr. Francis Collins, in which they dismiss a report that the pandemic originated in the Wuhan lab.
He accused Fauci, 81, of ‘using government resources to center and to destroy the reputations of other scientists who disagree with him.’
‘Do you really think it’s appropriate to use your $420,000 salary to attack science? Paul asked.
Fauci then flew into a rage, told Paul he was ‘completely incorrect’ and mentioned a California grocer who was arrested while travelling to D.C. with an AR-15 and threatening to kill him.
Fauci issued his most scathing rebuke of Senator Rand Paul yet, directly telling the Kentucky Republican that his criticism has lead to threats on him and his family
Paul is among Fauci’s most vocal critics, blaming him for thousands of COVID deaths and blasting his COVID health directives as ‘tyrannical’
Fauci attempted to correct Paul but the pair wound up talking over each other in an increasingly heated back-and-forth.
‘I think in usual fashion, Senator, you are distorting everything about me,’ Fauci said.
Paul began attacking Fauci for a desire to ‘tear down people’ before the scientist cut him off to say he was ‘completely incorrect.’
Fauci went a step further and told the Kentucky Republican, ‘not only are you distorting it, you’re completely turning it around.’
‘Senator, we are here at a committee, to look at a virus now that has killed almost 900,000 people and the purpose of the committee was to try and get things out how we can help to get the American public,’ the medical expert exploded.
‘And you keep coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance to reality.’
The GOP legislator labeled Fauci the ‘lead architect’ of a government response that’s led to 800,000 people dying of COVID under Biden’s first year in office.
Fauci asked Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray for a chance to respond, telling her: ‘I would like just a couple of minutes because this, this happens all the time.’
‘You personally attack me, and with absolutely not a shred of evidence of anything you say. So I would like to make something clear to the committee: he’s doing this for political reasons,’ Fauci said.
He brought up one of Paul’s previous ‘irresponsible’ claims that Fauci was responsible for American COVID deaths.
Kuachua Brillion Xiong, 25, was arrested last month with a hit list that included Fauci, Biden and Obama among others
‘There are two reasons why that’s really bad,’ he said steadily.
‘The first is, it distracts from what we’re all trying to do here today, is get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we’re dealing with. Not something imaginary.’
The second, Fauci said, is that Paul’s wild accusations have led to threats against his and his family’s safety.
‘What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me,’ Fauci said.
‘I guess you could say well, that’s the way it goes, I can take the hit. Well, it makes a difference.
‘Because as some of you may know, just about three or four weeks ago on December 21, a person was arrested, who was on their way from Sacramento to Washington, DC, at a speed stop in Iowa. And they asked — police asked him where he was going, and he was going to Washington, DC to kill Dr. Fauci.’
Late last month a California grocery store clerk named Kuachua Brillion Xiong was arrested with a hit list of political figures including Fauci, Biden and Barack Obama.
What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there and I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me.’
Dr. Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul
He reportedly told authorities he wanted to ‘fight evil demons in the White House’ and was arrested with an AR-15 rifle, ammunition, loaded magazines, body armor and medical kits in his car.
‘Because he thinks that maybe I’m killing people,’ Fauci said of the man. ‘Now I ask myself, why would the Senator want to do this?’
He held up a paper with a graphic of his own face printed alongside the words ‘Fire Dr. Fauci.’
‘Go to Rand Paul website, and you see “Fire Dr. Fauci” in a little box that says, “Contribute here.” You could do $5, $10, $20, $100 — so you are making a catastrophic epidemic into your political game,’ Fauci charged.
Paul alleged Fauci was choosing to attack him in order to not respond to his accusations.
Eventually Murray shut down the exchange, denying Fauci’s request for an additional minute to continue responding.
Shortly after the brief war of words, Paul posted an image of an infuriated Fauci holding up the website image.
‘Dr. Fauci and I finally agreed on something in our Senate hearing today,’ he mocked.
The next lawmaker to speak, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, thanked Fauci for his work and tore into Republicans for ‘making a sport’ out of these attacks.
Paul mocked Fauci on Twitter shortly after their angry war of words at the Senate hearing
‘And thank you for calling out this agenda for what it is, an attempt to score political points, to build a political power base, around the denial of science and around personal attacks on you and your family,’ Murphy said.
He said Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers go after Fauci in ‘some of the most vicious, hateful, ugly ways that are possible — and they do it because it gets clicks. They don’t do it because they’re legitimately engaged in a honest debate about the science revolving around COVID.’
Another recent high-profile GOP attack on Fauci occurred when conservative Fox host Jesse Watters urged a young right-wing audience at a Turning Point USA event to ‘ambush’ Fauci and ‘go in for the kill shot’ — despite couching the violent rhetoric by telling the crowd to confront him ‘respectfully.’
Far from being punished, Watters was recently given his own primetime show on the TV network.
But Paul has perhaps been Fauci’s most consistent critic, from accusing him of lying to Congress over NIH funds that allegedly went toward virology research in Wuhan to blaming him for thousands of COVID deaths.
Instead of engaging them on the merits, you and Dr. Collins sought to smear them as fringe and take them down, and not in journals in lay press. This is not only antithetical to the scientific method, it’s the epitome of cheap politics, and it’s reprehensible, Dr. Fauci.
Sen. Rand Paul to Dr. Fauci
The Kentucky senator has claimed that Fauci’s laser-focus on promoting vaccines versus treatments and ‘natural immunity’ cost numerous lives during the pandemic.
Fauci said in December that while boosted Americans have about 75 percent protection against the Omicron variant, some monoclonal antibody treatments won’t work against the new strain.
‘Unfortunately, but understandably with the degree of mutations that we have with Omicron, some of the monoclonal antibodies shown on the slide here very likely will not work against Omicron and those are shown in the first two monoclonal antibodies,’ Fauci said on MSNBC on December 22.
The CDC recommends all people aged 12 and older be fully vaccinated and boosted, regardless of whether they’ve had COVID or not.
The now-dominant Omicron variant has been shown to cause breakthrough infections, though the vast majority of those patients experience mild to no symptoms.
Despite the new strain appearing to cause milder illness than the more severe Delta variant, data has shown that those who are unvaccinated are at a significantly higher risk of being hospitalized or dying of the virus.
Earlier in the hearing, GOP ranking committee member Sen. Richard Burr said the American public has lost ‘trust’ in the Biden administration amid widespread confusion over shifting public health guidelines.
‘I don’t understand why after tens of billions of federal dollars being appropriated, this administration has failed to ensure that the Americans have the tests they need. I don’t understand why suddenly it’s okay to take into account the economic and job impact of your guidance and recommendations,’ Burr said.
‘ We shorten the quarantine guidance because too many people would be out of work. Was that because of science, or was it because you now know that lockdowns, shutdowns and school closures come with a significant downside impact?
‘If you ask the American people to trust, quite frankly, you’ve lost their trust. Rather than attempting to gain their trust back, the administration chooses to litigate mandate requirements for employers with over 100 employees.’
Before gaveling in the second round of the hearing, Murray without naming names warned participants against making ‘personal attacks.’
At the outset of his allotted time Paul blasted Fauci for the ‘insulting’ suggestion he was to blame for the doctor’s death threats.
He recalled the 2017 incident where a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire during a Congressional Republican baseball practice, critically injuring House GOP Whip Steve Scalise.
‘The person who’s shot at us and almost killed Steve Scalise was a rabid supporter of Bernie Sanders. But the one thing you’ll find, if you look at the record is not one of us accused Bernie Sanders of being responsible for that,’ Paul said.
‘So this is the kind of ignorant sort of personal attacks that you’ve engaged in.’
The senator seemed to insinuate that Fauci himself was to blame.
‘The anger that’s developed with you, Dr. Fauci, is that you don’t want to give us advice. You want to tell us what to do,’ Paul said.
‘You think you are the science, and that anybody responds to you — “How dare you? How dare you criticize science?” As if you somehow are science? That kind of arrogance, that hubris is really that’s where the anger is coming towards you.’
Given a minute to respond, Fauci denied Paul’s claims he wanted to ‘take down’ scientists who disagreed with him.
‘You personally attack me, and the things that you do are incorrect, and proven incorrect,’ Fauci told his foe.
During the hearing, Fauci also took heat from GOP Senator Roger Marshall, himself a physician before taking office.
‘You’ve lost your reputation. The American people don’t trust the words coming out of your mouth,’ the Kansas Republican said.
Fauci retorted, ‘It really pains me to have to just point out to the American public just how absolutely incorrect you are.’
EXCLUSIVE: White House watchdog CLEARED Dr. Fauci, the highest paid government employee, of violating the Hatch Act when he criticized Trump’s handling of the COVID pandemic just four days before the election
Reporting by Rob Crilly
A federal watchdog cleared Dr. Anthony Fauci of breaching rules designed to prevent civil service employees engaging in political activities after a conservative group complained he criticized President Trump’s handling of the COVID pandemic days before the 2020 election.
Protect the Public’s Trust claimed Fauci violated the Hatch Act during an interview with the Washington Post.
In its complaint, the group said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases criticized Trump and praised then presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Asked about the difference between their approaches, Fauci said Biden’s campaign ‘is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.’ Trump is ‘looking at it from a different perspective.’
And he contradicted Trump’s optimistic assessment the country was ’rounding the turn.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci has the target for conservatives ever since he took on a key role in the Trump administration’s pandemic response. They have questioned his policy proposals and accused him of undermining Trump and efforts to reopen the country
In its complaint, Protect the Public’s Trust accused Fauci of criticizing Trump’s handling of the pandemic and praising Joe Biden’s campaign just days ahead of the 2020 election
‘We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,’ he said.
‘All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,’ he said.
‘You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.’
On Tuesday, Protect the Public’s Trust revealed the results of an inquiry by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
It said the OSC noted that the statement came just days before the election and stated that it ‘generally advises employees that it is best not to discuss candidates for partisan political office when speaking in their official capacity.
While ultimately finding no technical violation, the OSC’s Deputy Chief conceded that the Washington Post author ‘may have written it from a particular perspective and tried to use Dr. Fauci’s words to make a political point.
Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said: ‘The highest-paid employee in the federal government, and one of the most influential public voices, should be held to the highest standards of conduct.
‘Unfortunately, as the Office of Special Counsel noted, Dr. Fauci disregarded its best practices around the Hatch Act and enabled his official position to be used ‘to make a political point’ even if his motives were unclear.
‘We respect OSC’s determination that this was a “close call” but believe the American public deserves more from officials such as Dr. Fauci.’
Fauci has been a frequent target of conservatives, angered by his support of lockdowns and his changing position on the merits masking, for example.
His pay has also attracted scrutiny in recent weeks.
Fauci, now chief medical adviser to Biden, earned $434,312 in 2020, making him the highest paid federal employee.
The 81-year-old is also on course to collect the biggest federal government retirement package in U.S. history with his annual payment exceeding $350,000, according to a Forbes estimate.