U.S. Senator Rand Paul is running violent threats against me, Fauci says

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (Reuters) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease official in the United States, on Tuesday accused Republican Senator Rand Paul of spreading misinformation that has sparked threats of violence against him and his family, while distracting the public from the fight against the Covid19 pandemic.

At a Senate health committee hearing, Fauci had his latest heated back and forth with Paul, a Kentucky lawmaker and supporter of former President Donald Trump. Fauci said Paul was focused on misinformed attacks rather than oversight aimed at addressing the health care system that has so far killed more than 800,000 people in the United States.

Paul’s website accuses Fauci of “ignoring good advice and lying about everything from masks to the contagion of the virus,” and on Tuesday the senator accused Fauci of smearing other scientists who disagreed with him.

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Fauci said Paul distorted the truth.

“There you go again, you just do the same thing at every hearing,” Fauci told the senator, accusing him of making personal attacks that had no relation to reality. ‘

“He’s doing this for political reasons,” Fauci continued, pointing to fundraising appeals on Paul’s website alongside a call for Fauci to be fired.

Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about the Omicron coronavirus variant during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, USA, on December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / File Photo

“It’s distracting 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, nothing imaginary,” Fauci said.

Fauci has come under sharp criticism from some conservatives and death threats from people protesting measures such as vaccination and masking, which he has called for to stop the pandemic.

Fauci said misinformation had led to such threats.

“What happens when he (Paul) comes out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that it suddenly turns on the crazy ones out there and I have … threats on my life, harassment of my family and mine children “said Fauci.

Fauci said on December 21 that a person was arrested in Iowa who traveled from California to Washington, DC, allegedly for killing Fauci.

Paul accused Fauci of making personal attacks against him, saying no one wanted violence against Fauci.

Last month, Fauci called for Fox News host Jesse Watters to be fired after Watters commented on a “lethal shot” while criticizing the doctor.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jeff Mason; Editing Aurora Ellis

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