Despite his protestations, Sen. Rand Paul seems to have pinned Dr Anthony Fauci Tuesday when questioning him on U.S. government funding of gain of function research possibly leading to the development of the Chinese coronavirus.
The exchange at the Senate hearing marks at least the third clash between the two in recent months.
Here are the main takeaways from the heated debate, as reported by the Daily Signal.
Liar, liar, pants on fire
Paul and Fauci called each other liars during the most heated part of the hearing, as they argued over whether the U.S. government funded gain of function research in China.
“Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement from May 11 when you claimed that the NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan?” Paul asked.
Fauci responded, “Sen. Paul, I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement.”
As Paul pressed him, Fauci became irritated. “Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that to you officially. You do not know what you are talking about.”
WATCH: Complete exchange between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator @RandPaul.
Dr. Fauci: "Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about." pic.twitter.com/2wFbAxicI2
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 20, 2021
“They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and increased their transmissibility to humans,” Paul said. “How can you say that is not gain of function?”
“It is not,” Fauci responded.
“It’s a dance. You are dancing around this because you are trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic,” Paul asserted.
“If the point that you are making is that the grant was funded as a subaward from EcoHealth to Wuhan created SARS-CoV-2, that’s where you are getting…,” Fauci said, before Paul interrupted. “Let me finish.”
“No one is saying those viruses caused a pandemic,” Paul said. “What we are alleging is that gain of function research was going on in those labs and NIH funded it. You can’t get away from it. It meets your definition, and you are obfuscating the truth.”
Fauci fired back: “I want everyone to understand that if you look at those viruses, and that’s judged by qualified biologists and evolutionary biologists, those viruses are molecularly impossible to result in SARS-CoV-2.”
Paul repeated that he wasn’t saying viruses from gain of function research caused the pandemic, but that evidence showed the U.S. funded other gain of function research in Wuhan.
“You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals,” Fauci said. “I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.”