MAINEVILLE, Ohio – The feud between U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, heated up this week and showed no signs of letting up on Friday.
During a visit on Friday to southwest Ohio, the Kentucky Republican didn't shy away from Fauci's accusation earlier in the week he raised money off of the pandemic and efforts to "Fire Fauci."
"Yes, we’re raising money," Paul told The Enquirer. "If we do win, we take over the Senate. We will do everything we can to remove (Fauci) from office. We think he’s a menace. We think he’s lied to Congress."
Paul didn't say how he'd remove Fauci from his post as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci also is President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor.
Several Republicans are backing the "Fire Fauci Act," which would reduce the salary of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to $0 until Fauci resigns from the position and a new administrator is appointed.
Paul traveled to Maineville in suburban Cincinnati to endorse Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, one of the Republicans running for Sen. Rob Portman's seat. Dozens of people, virtually all unmasked, packed into a gym Friday for the Gibbons rally that turned into just as much of an anti-Fauci rally.
Paul spent most of his 20-minute speech criticizing Fauci and the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We had another little episode with Dr. Fauci this week," Paul said as the crowd laughed. "And it is amazing how many times he's gotten things wrong."
Paul went on to criticize Fauci about masking guidelines, accused him of belittling natural immunity to COVID-19 and expounded on theories about the virus coming out of a lab in China.
A few days earlier, in a heated congressional hearing, Fauci said Paul's repeated misinformation about the pandemic, made for political reasons, led to death threats against him.
"What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there," Fauci said on Tuesday, "And I have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because people are lying about me."
Paul said he wasn't responsible for people threatening Fauci.
"For him to come forward and try to blame an accusation of violence on me for opposing his positions he takes on the pandemic I think is really meanspirited and wrong," Paul said.
Paul also responded to a 2013 clip from a video this week posted on Twitter by epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding. It was from a 2013 speech to students at the University of Louisville. Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, told a story about his time in medical school when he spread a false rumor among competing students about what was on a test.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 12, 2022
"That's my advice, misinformation works," Paul told the students in the clip "So try to trick your opponents into knowing the test is about something its not."
Paul, when asked by The Enquirer about the clip, reacted with derision. He said it's a joke he's told hundreds of times.
"Do you know what a joke is?" Paul said. "Do you know what humor is? You can't tell?"
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: COVID-19: Rand Paul continues feud with Anthony Fauci