Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in an interview Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci will not go down favorably in history over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the former presidential medical advisor should be behind bars for purportedly lying to Congress in previous hearings.
“His actions in covering up the origins of the virus will go down in history as probably one of the most egregious and infamous public health decisions in our lifetime,” Paul told Fox News Digital in an interview Monday.
“Every step of the way, Fauci has publicly protested and said ‘we never funded any gain function research in Wuhan,’ but if you look at his private emails, it tells a different story,” Paul said.
Gain-of-function research involves manipulating the genes of microorganisms to give them new functions or characteristics. In the context of COVID-19, gain-of-function research found that the virus could have originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and involved experiments that enhanced its transmissibility, or pathogenicity.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, left, and Sen. Rand Paul (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images | Photographer: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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In previous congressional testimony, Fauci refuted claims that the National Institutes of Health had financed gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab — the epicenter of the pandemic that originated in late 2019 and would soar to pandemic proportions in 2020.
Fauci testified for the second time last week in private before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which is investigating the origins of the virus.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, was reportedly perturbed that Fauci was unable to recall decisions or circumstances from the early stages of the outbreak, which claimed the lives of 1.1 million Americans, he wrote in a statement.
“Lying to Congress is a felony punishable up to five years in prison. When he came and told me that he did not find gain-of-function research and move on — that was a bald-faced lie. I gave him a chance to correct the record a month later when he came back to the committee, and he refused to do so,” Paul said.
“And to this day, he has been dissembling and really trying to point blame away from him, but that’s a felony,” he said.
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Shana Alesi administers a second COVID-19 booster shot to Army veteran Robert Hall at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on April 1, 2022, in Hines, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Fauci also testified that the lab leak hypothesis — which was often suppressed — was not a conspiracy theory and that the policies and mandates he promoted may increase vaccine hesitancy in the future, Wenstrup wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Wenstrup said Fauci played semantics with the definition of a “lab leak” while acknowledging that a lab leak was possible.
Wenstrup said the admission came nearly four years after the publication of the “Proximal Origin” paper that attempted to vilify and disprove the lab leak hypothesis.
Fauci also denied allegations that he visited the CIA during the pandemic or influenced the CIA’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
“Dr. Fauci’s transcribed interview revealed systemic failures in our public health system and shed light on serious procedural concerns with our public health authority,” wrote Wenstrup, a physician of over 30 years.
“It is clear that dissenting opinions were often not considered or suppressed completely. Should a future pandemic arise, America’s response must be guided by scientific facts and conclusive data.”
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Members of the World Health Organization team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
Paul, who is also an eye doctor, said the reason he “continues to dwell” on Fauci’s handling of the pandemic is because he aims “to pass legislation that creates an independent commission that will regulate gain-of-function research and try to prevent some of the more dangerous research from ever occurring.”
“There was no science,” Paul said of the COVID-19 guidelines like social distancing and quarantine. “This was sort of medieval type of conclusions. And I think history will judge him harshly for doing this.”
Fox News Digital has reached out to Fauci for comment.
Fox News’ Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.