Rand Paul says he and his family have received ‘death threats’ as result of clashes with Fauci on Covid-19
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has said his public sparring with the US president’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Covid-19 and its origins has led to multiple death threats against him and his family.
“I don’t know what the world’s coming to. You can’t ask honest, difficult questions that, in the end, have proved that Dr. Fauci was not being honest with us, but as a repercussion, my family had white powder sent to our house, and five death threats phoned in,” Paul told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday night.
The senator’s comments follow a report last month that a suspicious substance had been sent to his home, accompanied by a mocked-up picture of him with a gun to his head and the message: “I’ll finish what your neighbor started, you motherf***er.” The threat was a reference to an assault on Paul by Rene Boucher in 2017.
Paul has been one of Fauci’s most vocal critics during the pandemic, with the two getting into verbal brawls on everything from the origins of Covid-19 to the value of masking.
One of their more virulent exchanges occurred recently, when the Kentucky senator questioned Fauci on the effectiveness of fully vaccinated Americans continuing to mask themselves in public, blasting it as theater. Fauci pushed back against this description, saying Covid-19 was still transmittable to those who were unvaccinated. Weeks later, Fauci appeared to change his position on masking, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying new data showed masking in public for vaccinated Americans was unnecessary.
Paul has also questioned recent reports on Fauci’s apparent support of gain-of-function research – that is, into the act of altering a virus and making it more dangerous to humans in an effort to better combat it and others in the future – as well as his denial that funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to the Wuhan Institute of Virology had not included budgeting for such research.
“There’s been no more prominent scientist in favor of gain-of-function research than Dr. Fauci,” the senator said. “He still hasn’t backed off of that position. He still believes that it’s OK to take animal viruses and make them into super-viruses to infect humans. Even if a pandemic should occur, he says the research is worth it.”
Fauci has said no funding from the NIH went toward gain-of-function research, though he has also said he has no “guarantee” for where the money ended up. Paul has countered that multiple email exchanges show Fauci being unclear about where exactly NIH funding was going.
Fauci, who has seen calls for his resignation from conservatives gain momentum after the release of those emails, thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests, pushed back against attacks from Republicans on Friday night, dismissing them as “nonsense.”
“I mean, it is what it is. I’m a public figure – I’m going to take the arrows and the slings, but they’re just… they’re fabricated, and that’s just what it is,” he told MSNBC in response to the accusations.
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