Fireworks erupt at Senate hearing as Fauci clashes with 'egregiously incorrect' Rand Paul over 'gain of function' research
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) continued his feud with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the conspiracy theory that the National Institute of Health somehow funded the Chinese creation of the coronavirus.
At a Senate hearing on Thursday, Paul began with an attack on Fauci, saying that Americans don't believe him anymore. Paul's statistics come from a conservative poll done online to fewer than 1,000 registered voters.
Paul twisted the facts, saying, "The NIH did fund gain of function research in Wuhan despite your protestations. You can deny it all you want but even the Chinese authors of the paper in their paper admit that viruses not found in nature were created and yes, they gained in infectivity. Your persistent denials though are not simply a stain on your reputation but are a clear and present danger to the country and to the world."
Fauci responded by telling Paul that he not only should know better, but he does know better.
"Senator, with all due respect, I disagree with so many of the things that you've said," he began. "First of all, gain of function is a very nebulous term. We have spent, not us but outside bodies, a considerable amount of effort to give a more precise definition to the type of research that is of concern that might lead to a dangerous situation. You are aware of that. That is called P3C0."
Paul attempted to interject with more false accusations.
"I can get back to that in a moment if we have time," said Fauci. "But let's get back to the operating framework and guide rails which we operate under. And you have ignored them. The guidelines are very, very clear, that you have to be dealing with a pathogen that clearly is shown and very likely to be highly transmissible in an uncontrollable way in humans and to have a higher degree of morbidity and mortality, and you do experiments to enhance that, hence the words enhanced pathogens."
Paul then falsely claimed that Fauci intentionally took a virus and combined it with something that doesn't appear in nature to make mice sicker. He ranted that Fauci was trying to escape accountability by changing the definitions of things on the NIH website, which he flatly denied.
"According to the definition that is currently operable -- you know, senator, let's make it clear for the people who are listening," Fauci continued. "The current definition was done over -- to three-year period by outside bodies including the [National Scientific Advisory Board for Biosecurity], two conferences by the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, on December 2014, March 2016. We commissioned an external risk/benefit assessment in January of 2017. The Office of Science and Technology Policy, at the White House, issued the current policy."
He explained that he had no role in changing any definitions of anything and that it certainly didn't happen in relation to COVID.
Paul continued to rant until he ran out of time when the chair allowed Fauci to speak again.
"Yeah, well, there are so many things that are egregious misrepresentation here, madam chair, that I don't think I would be able to refute all of them," said Dr. Fauci. "But just a couple of them for the listeners to hear. You have said I am unwilling to take any responsibility for the current pandemic. I have no responsibility for the current pandemic. The current pandemic, okay? Number two. You said the overwhelming amount of evidence indicates a lab leak. I believe most card-carrying viral biologists and molecular biologists would disagree with you. Even though we leave open all possibilities, it's much more likely that this was a natural occurrence."
"No animals have been found with COVID," Paul claimed. In fact, COVID has been found in tigers, deer, great apes, red pandas, goats, giraffes, river otters, skunks, bearcats and some domestic dogs and cats thus far.
The chair reprimanded Paul for speaking when his time had expired.
"Third, you say we contested 80,000 — you made a statement just a moment ago that's completely incorrect when you say we continue to support research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology," Fauci continued.
Paul claimed Fauci proved it Aug. 2020, but the chair stepped in saying that Paul had attacked Fauci and demanded that he give time for the doctor to respond.
"I don't have any more to say, I have a great deal of respect for this body of the Senate and it makes me very uncomfortable to have to say something, but he is egregiously incorrect in what he says. Thank you."
Paul shot back that history will decide, though it's already clear it isn't on the senator's side.
Paul, who went to medical school, declared himself self-certified by his own National Board of Ophthalmology.
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