(NewsNation Now) — A verbal dispute between the nation’s top doctor and Sen. Rand Paul took center stage on Tuesday during a Senate hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and emerging variants.
The remarkable exchange overshadowed a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee designed to examine if policy changes are needed while the U.S. is battling the hugely contagious omicron variant.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, angrily accused the senator of making false accusations that are leading to threats against him — all to raise political cash.
Fauci went as far as to bring a page to the hearing that he printed out from Sen. Paul’s campaign website showing a “fire Dr. Fauci” page that includes a call for political contributions ranging from $5 to $100.
“So go to Rand Paul website, and you see fire Dr. Fauci with a little box that says, contribute here,” Fauci said. “So you are making a catastrophic epidemic for your political game.”
Paul and other conservative critics have focused their ire at how the pandemic is being handled on Fauci.
The spat started when Paul accused Fauci of trying to discredit three scientists who had been embracing at that point unproven claims about the origins of COVID.
Paul pressed Fauci over an email and accused the expert of trying to “attack scientists who disagree with you.”
Fauci was clearly frustrated, and he said he feels he’s been personally attacked.
He said that after some of these exchanges, his family and himself have gotten death threats.
Fauci described one of them from a man who was arrested just a few weeks ago, saying, “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.”
This was not the first heated back and forth between the two.
“You just do the same thing every hearing,” Fauci told Paul. “You’re absolutely incorrect, as usual, senator.”