Sen. Rand Paul engaged in another testy exchange with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, during testimony on Thursday in which the Kentucky Republican lambasted the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser over an alleged change in definition to “gain of function” research.
At one point Paul accused Fauci, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, of attempting to “cover your a**” with the new definition after previous admissions from the National Institutes of Health, which oversees Fauci’s agency, appeared to admit this fall that the department had indeed funded such research.
“You appear to have learned nothing from this pandemic,” Paul noted, according to video clips posted online Thursday. “Will you, today, finally take some responsibility for funding gain-of-function research” at a lab in Wuhan China, he asked.
Fauci responded that he disagreed with several assertions Paul had made, calling “gain of function a very nebulous term” as he attempted to explain that the Kentucky senator is aware of that.
Sen. @RandPaul (R-KY) to Dr. Anthony Fauci: "You appear to have learned nothing from this pandemic…What you're doing is defining away gain-of-function…and what you've done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your ass, basically." pic.twitter.com/Ty7znQtT5J
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) November 4, 2021
“We’re aware that you changed the definition of gain of function on your [agency’s] website,” Paul interjected.
“Well, I can get back to that in a moment if we have time,” Fauci said, further attempting to explain his understanding of the research.
Paul jumped in to read an example into the record of how NIH-funded research in mice “using humanized cells” appeared to be similar to what Fauci had just explained, before asking the nation’s top immunologist if they were the same.
As Fauci tried to reference the published definition, Paul interjected again.
“So what you’re doing is defining away gain of function — you’re simply saying it doesn’t exist ’cause you changed the definition on the NIH website,” Paul asserted.
“This is terrible, and you’re completely trying to escape the idea that we should do something about trying to prevent a pandemic from leaking from a lab,” he added, noting an alleged “preponderance of evidence that points” to the so-called COVID-19 “lab-leak theory.”
“And what you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your a**, basically,” Paul continued.
Rand Paul to Dr. Fauci: "Until you accept responsibility, we're not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment. You won't admit that it's dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it's time that you resign." pic.twitter.com/pwa3wbQ1jq
— The Hill (@thehill) November 4, 2021
“Until you accept responsibility, we’re not going to get anywhere close to trying to prevent another lab leak of this dangerous sort of experiment. You won’t admit that it’s dangerous, and for that lack of judgment, I think it’s time that you resign,” Paul noted further.
In an op-ed published at FoxNews.com Thursday, Paul made similar arguments.
“The NIH’s old and newly altered website admits that the NIH funds ‘gain-of-function’ research but that it needs to be ‘conducted in very high biosecurity laboratories,'” he wrote. “But we can’t even get to the question of whether the Wuhan lab was secure because Dr. Fauci won’t admit that ‘gain-of-function’ research even occurred.
“Furthermore, Dr. Fauci continues to support funding for EcoHealth,” he continued, referring to the private firm that reportedly used NIH grant money to fund the dangerous research at Wuhan that some speculate led to the development of COVID-19.
“The American people deserve to know how this pandemic started, to know if the NIH funded research that may have caused this pandemic, and to remove from office anyone, such as Dr. Fauci, who let this happen,” Paul concluded.
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