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Fauci spars with GOP lawmakers during tense Omicron hearing

<i>Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images</i><br/>Dr. Anthony Fauci
Getty Images
Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images
Dr. Anthony Fauci

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci hit back at two Republican senators in a pair of tense exchanges Tuesday, accusing one of attacking him for political gain and calling another “a moron” following questions about his finances during a Senate hearing.

The confrontations with Sens. Rand Paul and Roger Marshall came in a hearing on the federal response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as the Biden administration faces growing scrutiny alongside record hospitalizations, testing challenges and messaging frustration — issues the GOP has seized on.

Early in the hearing, after Paul sought to cast Fauci as a “dangerous” government official, the White House chief medical adviser and top infectious disease expert said such rhetoric “kindles the crazies” and has led to threats against his family.

“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 life — threats upon my life — harassment of my family, and my children, with obscene phone calls because people are lying about me,” Fauci said before suggesting the Kentucky Republican was attacking him as a way of raising money.

“So I asked myself, ‘Why would Senator want to do this?’ So, go to Rand Paul website. And you see, ‘Fire Dr. Fauci’ with a little box that says, ‘contribute here,’ you can do $5, $10, $20, $100,” he said. “So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain.”

Fauci brought a similarly pointed tone to his exchange with Marshall after the Kansas Republican falsely accused him of withholding financial disclosure forms.

“You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary,” a visibly frustrated Fauci told Marshall, calling his financial information “public knowledge” for nearly four decades. After the back-and-forth, Fauci could be heard saying, “What a moron. Jesus Christ.”

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360” Tuesday evening, Fauci said public health officials “should be having to respond to tough questions.”

“And yet, the only thing that came out of Sen. Rand Paul and, to some extent, Sen. Roger Marshall, were ad hominems, which does nothing but distract from what we really need to be doing,” he said.

In response to the hearing, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told CNN in a statement Tuesday that Republicans on the panel “clearly weren’t trying to stop the spread” of misinformation.

“At a time when America is seeing rising COVID cases, it’s disappointing and frankly unacceptable that Republican Senators chose to spend a hearing with the country’s leading public health experts spreading conspiracy theories and lies about Dr. Fauci, rather than how we protect people from COVID-19,” spokesman Ian Sams said.

“The Biden Administration will continue to focus on getting more Americans vaccinated and boosted and helping Americans get access to the tools to keep themselves and others safe. We would encourage these Republicans to join us.”

The United States averaged more than 754,200 new Covid-19 cases daily over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That’s about three times last winter’s peak average (251,987 on January 11, 2021), and 4.5 times the peak from the Delta-driven surge (166,347 on September 1), according to Johns Hopkins.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, on Tuesday.

“Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.”

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CNN’s Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.

CNN Newsource

Comments

18 Comments

    1. There was a lot more dialogue than that quote, which was on a hot mike. I suggest you watch the whole thing. A lot of questions the weasel wouldn’t answer. It was enjoyable to watch him squirm.

      1. You have Trump on the brain. Even people like me who do like Trump can see that Fauci is obviously hiding something. There is an honest way in which you answer questions if you have nothing to hide and ways in which you answer questions if you have something to hide. Fauci is obviously trying to conceal something and that is not the kind of behavior anyone should want from a person in Fauci’s position of responsibility.

  1. Imagine being such a crappy Ophthalmologist that you have to wear a clown nose and be a sad joke excuse for a man in the Senate to make a living?

  2. Here’s a great opportunity. Here you are given freedom of choice. You can either have CNN filter reality, tell you what to think and how to feel about it. Or you can watch the hearing for yourself and make up your own mind. Despite being the purpose of the hearing, if you watch you will see Dr Fauci never answers a question. He doesn’t defend or justify his policies. He simply accuses the Senator of being disingenuous and then looks into the camera and makes an emotional appeal to stop attacking him for the sake of the safety of his family.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jma4CjyA30E&ab_channel=BloombergMarketsandFinance

  3. Do people honestly think Fauci has done a good job? We’re 2 years into “2 weeks to flatten the curve” and the Dr. has been wrong more than he’s been right. As the highest paid government employee and nation’s “expert” he should be held accountable. He’s been less than honest and refuses to answer direct, relevant questions. I simply don’t see how his behavior and job performance are in any way acceptable.

    1. You realize that the US is not the only country on the planet, right? And Fauci is not the only health professional working on the COVID issue, right? There is nothing that he has said, that I am aware of, that has significantly different from what the vast majority of health officials around the world have been saying throughout this pandemic.

      1. Wanna bet ! Fauci got the whole “mask” debacle wrong from day one ! He doubled down against Ivermectin- while the FDA secretly studied the drug and has found it to be amazingly effective- Fauci lied about his involvement in GOF research funding- and has been completely dishonest with the planet as he spins his deadly web of deceit. You do realize all of this don’t you ?

  4. Amen to ABK and Skiz. Stop reading the news and watch the whole farce. Some of us are not “trumpers” as many of you resort to to justify why some of us don’t just believe the narrative. In fact some of us have an educational background and were taught to question…that is what science does. It asks a question through a hypothesis and then proves or disproves it.
    What people forget is there are no hypothesis about the vaxx or Covid. In fact its all been, Fauci says this, Fauci says that OR Pfizer and Moderna release their hand picked findings, which were not independently tested, no hypothesis, just “it works”. I say show me the studies to prove what he has said all along. The issue is there aren’t any!Pfizer wanted 75 years to release their information to the public…why 75 years? Fauci refuses to answer questions…why?
    Until people start asking questions, we will continue in this mess!

      1. What conspiracies? Not everyone who is an “anti-vaxxer” subscribes to conspiracy theories. It is called critical thinking. Please do answer, why should it have taken 75 years to release data on a safe and effective vaccine? Why did the vaccine go from “prevents Covid” to “reduces severity”? Has the FDA previously approved drugs and treatments only to rescind those approvals later when people start dropping dead? Who benefits from coercing people to take these vaccines? Why would I, a fit and healthy man in his 30s, take a treatment with still unknown potential future side effects for a virus that has a nearly zero chance of being fatal to me? We are not all conspiracy nuts, we’re normal people for whom this just doesn’t add up. I personally cannot reconcile the risk vs reward of taking a vaccine based on technology that was considered completely experimental just 2 years ago.

      2. Please let us know when you stop believing that the jab will slow new cases (Oregon just hit record highs over 10k)- will reduce the number of hospitalizations (more today than yesterday) and will finally overcome the double digit daily death patterns (Oregon suffered 35 today- not even close) ! Why don’t you question the failure of the narrative- that Joey Biden will shut down the virus- even he has now admitted- less than a week after stating that there is no federal solution- you got snookered by a geriatric career politician with a history of failure- New Generations of sore armed children thank you for this lesson in Demokant politics.

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