Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hit back at Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday after Paul again attacked President Biden’s chief medical adviser.
Fauci said Paul’s claims “kindles the crazies,” had led to direct threats against Fauci and his family, and were “irresponsible.”
“There are two reasons why that’s really bad. The first is it distracts from what we’re all trying to do here today, [which is to] get our arms around the epidemic and the pandemic that we’re dealing with, not something imaginary,” Fauci said to Paul.
“Number two, 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,” he continued.
Fauci then talked about a specific death threat that was made against him:
“Now, I guess you could say, ‘Well, that’s the way it goes.’ I can take a hit. Well, it makes a difference. Because as some of you may know, just about three or four weeks ago, on Dec. 21, a person was arrested who was on the way from Sacramento to Washington, DC, at a speed stop in Iowa. And … the police asked him where he was going. And he was going to Washington, DC, to kill Dr. Fauci. And they found in his car an AR-15 and multiple magazines of ammunition, because he thinks that maybe I’m killing people,” he said.
The California man that Fauci referenced was arrested in Iowa. The story was reported in The Des Moines Register and the Los Angeles Times, and federal court documents show the man was charged with making threats against a former president, as his threats also included former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The complaint also states the man made references to President Biden.
Fauci suggested Paul was attacking him as a way to raise money and seek political gain.
“So I asked myself, why would [the] 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. So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political gain,” Fauci said, holding up a printout of his picture on the site.
Watch more from the exchange: