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Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul: 'You do not know what you're talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially'

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on July 20. Stefani Reynolds/Associated Press
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul once again butted heads on Tuesday.

  • During a hearing on COVID, Fauci told Paul that the senator didn't know what he was talking about.

  • "If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you," Fauci said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday got into a heated exchange during a Senate hearing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Senator Paul, you do not know what you're talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you're talking about," Fauci said to Paul when the Kentucky Republican suggested that the US's top infectious-disease expert had been dishonest about whether the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China. Paul effectively accused Fauci of lying to Congress about research in China on coronaviruses.

"I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, senator," Fauci went on to say to Paul. "Those viruses are molecularly impossible to result in SARS-CoV-2." Fauci added, "You are implying what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you."

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This was not the first time Fauci and Paul have butted heads. In March, Paul accused Fauci of "theater" and wearing two masks "for show" after he was vaccinated.

"Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater - they are protective," Fauci said at the time.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, has frequently been the target of Republican criticism over the government's approach to the pandemic.

But in April, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed against this trend and said he trusted Fauci's expertise.

"I think he's the principal person we've relied on the last couple of years that's become somewhat controversial, I gather," McConnell said of Fauci. McConnell added, "He's the most reliable witness I've seen."

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