Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden's top medical adviser, had a contentious day on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Fauci welcomed the good, tough questions about the COVID-19 "tsunami" and the Biden administration's response from the panel's top senators, Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and most of the other senators on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper Tuesday night. "We should be having to respond to tough questions. And yet the only thing that came out of Sen. Rand Paul [R-Ky.] and, to some extent, Sen. Roger Marshall [R-Kan.], were ad hominems" that just distracted from the crutical topic at hand.
Cooper played the "stunning" clip of Marshall asking Fauci about his public financial records, laughing at Fauci's hot-mic comment about Marshall being a "moron." (Fauci did not laugh.) Cooper said it's clear Marshall was just reading a question somebody else wrote, and they expected it and the giant printed check to be "this big, kind of extraordinary reveal," and "then when you answered it, he didn't know what to do, because there was no follow-up for him and he was unaware that that's public information, and then he just, it just went downhill from there."
"At the end there, Dr. Fauci, you seemed a little frustrated with that line of inquiry," MSNBC's Chris Hayes deadpanned after showing Fauci the same "what a moron" clip. Marshall "was implying, if you listen to the entire dialogue, that in my position, responsible for drug trials and having so-called inside knowledge of what drug works and what drug doesn't work, that maybe I was making investments sort of like ahead of the game here," Fauci explained. "It was stunning to me that a United States senator doesn't realize that my financial statement is public knowledge. It was just like, where have you been?"
Hayes also played Fauci a clip from the 1980s and early '90s of AIDS activists holding his head on a spike, and Fauci explained how those protests against him were much different than the death threats he's getting now, which he blamed partly on Paul. The AIDS protesters "were dignified people" making sensible arguments for things their government should have been doing, Fauci said. "What we're having now is outright lies that clearly are in the realm of politics."