Republican Sen. Rand Paul continued to go after Dr. Anthony Fauci in a radio interview Wednesday, claiming he’s invested in a Wuhan lab leak theory being discredited because the U.S. financed some of the lab’s research.
Paul claimed the nation’s top infectious disease expert had an ‘incestuous’ relationship’ with Dr. Peter Daszak, a British zoologist whose EcoHealth Alliance non-profit steered U.S. funding toward the Wuhan lab, and the scientists working there.
‘It’s all so incestuous,’ Paul told Tom Roten with WVHU, a local radio station in Kentucky. ‘It’s a small group of people. Fauci is at the head of this and really if we want to investigate this lab and we want to know how to prevent this from happening again, Fauci cannot be a part of this investigation.’
Sen. Rand Paul was out with fresh criticism against Dr. Anthony Fauci, pushing a theory that Fauci wants the Wuhan lab leak theory discredited because the U.S. financed some of the lab’s research
Sen. Rand Paul claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci (left) had an ‘incestuous’ relationship’ with Dr. Peter Daszak (right), whose EcoHealth Alliance non-profit steered U.S. funding toward the Wuhan lab, and the scientists working there
Sen. Rand Paul, along with former President Donald Trump, have leaned into the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic started as a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology
Paul is one of the most vocal Fauci critics who’s pushing that Fauci’s emails prove the doctor is lying about whether the Wuhan lab pursued what’s called ‘gain of function’ research – which would make a virus more contagious or deadly.
Last week, Fauci testified before Congress that there was no way to know if Chinese scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lied and conducted those experiments on bat coronaviruses using U.S. tax dollars.
‘There’s no way of guaranteeing that,’ Fauci said last Wednesday at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, responding to a question from Republican Sen. John Kennedy.
‘But in our experience with grantees, including Chinese grantees, which we have had interactions with for a very long period of time – they are very competent, trustworthy scientists,’ Fauci testified.
Paul, as well as former President Donald Trump, have leaned into the theory that the COVID-19 pandemic started as a Wuhan-based lab leak – and not a naturally occurring animal-to-human transmission that either started or grew from a Wuhan wet market.
A number of Republicans have expressed outrage that the National Institutes of Health gave $3.4 million to EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019 and $600,000 of that went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
With a trove of Fauci’s emails now public, one getting attention was one from Daszak thanking Fauci for dismissing the theory that COVID-19 leaked from the institute.
‘I just wanted to say a personal thank you on behalf of our staff and collaborators, for publicly standing up and stating that the scientific evidence supports a natural origin for COVID-19 from a bat-to-human spillover, not a lab release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ Daszak wrote.
‘From my perspective, your comments are brave, and coming from your trusted voice, will help dispel the myths being spun around the virus’s origins,’ he wrote to Fauci in April 2020.
Fauci responded, ‘Many thanks for your kind note.’
That correspondence rattled Paul, who pointed out that Daszak was one of the members of the World Health Organization’s team investigating the origins of COVID-19.
‘Well when they call for an investigation who do they put in charge of it? But this Peter Daszak, who is buddies with Fauci, who is thanking him privately in emails for covering up the Wuhan leak,’ Paul charged.
The Kentucky Republican also said Daszak cannot be part of any investigation into COVID-19 origins.
‘Or any of these people who are in this close group of friends because they have an incentive to cover it up because they were funding the lab,’ Paul said.
Despite Daszak’s association with the WHO, the organization didn’t slam the door on the Wuhan leak theory, just said it was the least likely.
‘Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,’ said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on March 30, when WHO’s COVID-19 origins report became publicly available. ‘Let me say clearly that as far as WHO is concerned all hypotheses remain on the table.’
Paul also claimed that some of Fauci’s emails showed that he was ‘very troubled’ about some gain-of-function research being done – though it was not immediately obvious which emails the Kentucky Republican was speaking of.
Paul referred to those messages as a ‘red herring.’
A request for comment from Paul’s office wasn’t immediately returned.
On Wednesday, Fauci said his emails ‘are really ripe to be taken out of context.’
‘Where someone can snip out a sentene in an email without showing the other emails and say, “based on an email from Dr. Fauci, he said such-and-such,” where you don’t really have the full context,’ the doctor said.