Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the government’s top public health experts, got into a heated exchange at a Senate hearing Tuesday after Paul accused Fauci of lying to Congress about the role the National Institutes of Health played in funding research in Wuhan, China.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially.” Fauci said. “You do not know what you’re talking about.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was responding to Paul’s claim that the NIH funded gain-of-function research — which looks to increase the transmissibility or pathogenesis of an organism in order to study disease — at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Fauci said Paul’s accusation was false, prompting a further exchange on what constitutes such research.
While it was not a new accusation from Paul, the senator implied Tuesday that Fauci had previously lied to Congress and was aware of what the Wuhan lab was doing with grant money that came from the NIH.
“Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said in rebuking Paul’s claim, adding that the issue had been evaluated many times by qualified people.