Rand Paul Flogs Fever Dreams About Fauci Creating COVID
Republicans are a pretty crass and nihilistic bunch, but Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is second to no Gipper in his willingness to burn down the country for the most evanescent of political gains. In preparation for another appearance by Dr. Anthony Fauci, a career public servant whose IRL job is to protect America's health, he tweeted an article about the doctor decrying the politicization of his message.
"Looking forward to tomorrow's hearing, Dr. Fauci!" he snarked. Which was marginally more civil than Paul's chief strategist Doug Stafford, who said in response to a New York Post story quoting Fauci on mask use, "I cannot say this strongly or clearly enough: Go fuck yourself."
Rand Paul was super stoked to go yet another round and PROVE that coronavirus is a hoax by discrediting the guy trying to save us from it. It just makes too much sense! And so the senator showed up this morning ready to launder the latest rightwing fever dream that COVID-19 is Anthony Fauci's fault because of his prior support for virus research in China. Having already convinced themselves that the virus was deliberately created in China's Wuhan Institute of Virology and either released as a bioweapon or allowed to escape accidentally, Newsmax's paint-huffing superfans were primed to believe this next iteration of the conspiracy theory.
"Can you imagine if a SARS virus that's been juiced up and had viral proteins added to it, to the spike protein, if that were released accidentally? Dr. Fauci, do you still support NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?" Paul thundered.
"Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect. The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute," Fauci responded, referring to lab experiments to engineer more lethal viruses for study or development of treatment, a crucial component of the wingers' theory.
"Do you fund Dr. Barrack's gain of function research?" Paul said, cutting off Fauci's attempt to correct the record.
"Dr. Barrack is not doing gain of function research, and if it is, it's according to the guidelines, and it's being conducted in North Carolina."
Paul went on to mischaracterize the research going on in North Carolina, telling Fauci that he was "in the minority" because two other scientists signed a statement disagreeing with him. Which is just how math works!
"Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does n… https://t.co/SF4SOrrN2f— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1620745462.0
And then they went around and around with Paul shouting over Fauci and trying to prove that the doctor subsidized COVID because the NIH made grants to the Wuhan Institute for Virology to study animal-borne pathogens and stop them from infecting people, which is clearly a devious plot to murder Americans with a hoax virus and cripple the economy.
Is some rightwing loon posting shit in your Facebook feed about the EcoHealth Alliance like it's the new Clinton Global Initiative? That's because the NIH funded EcoHealth, which in turn hired the Wuhan Institute to research how viruses can jump from bats to humans. That's it — that's the whole gotcha theory as to how Fauci created COVID-19. According to these geniuses, we should never have subsidized research on viruses at their origin point, because if you never research something, it can never hurt you — that is just science.
After Paul finished his ridiculous rant, Democratic Senator Tina Smith took her turn at the microphone to ask, "Dr. Fauci, what is the impact of conspiracy theories peddled by Senator Rand Paul and others on Americans' willingness to take this vaccine, a vaccine which by all accounts is remarkable for its safety and efficacy?"
"RAND PAUL IS A DERANGED PSYCHOPATH WHO WOULD SELL HIS OWN MOTHER FOR A GOOD NEWS CYCLE, AND HE'S DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THOUSANDS OF EXTRA AMERICAN DEATHS!" shouted the good doctor.
Oh, wait, that was your Wonkette. Dr. Fauci is a fuckin' professional, so he conducted himself with his usual discretion.
"Well, conspiracy theories certainly are not helpful in what we're trying to do," he responded mildly. "I guess I can say that with some degree of confidence."
But "helpful" is really not Rand Paul's bag, so he just wandered back to Twitter to call Fauci a liar. Third verse, same as the first, little bit louder and a whole lot worse.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.