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Sen. Marco Rubio doubles down on criticism of Dr. Fauci for purposely misleading on masks and herd immunity: 'I am appalled by his arrogance'


He's not letting the doctor off easy

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Patrick Semansky/Associated Press/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last weekend, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) went after Dr. Anthony Fauci for knowingly misleading the American public about the herd immunity threshold for the coronavirus.

The senator ripped Fauci's statements on face masks and herd immunity following an interview the doctor gave to the New York Times in which he admitted that he purposely misled Americans on just how many people would need to get the vaccination in order for the nation to reach herd immunity.

In a new op-ed posted at Fox News on Wednesday, Rubio went after Fauci again, this time detailing just what he found "appalling" about Fauci's history of misleading the public with the intent to "manipulate their behavior."

Rubio began by noting that most of the media have ignored Fauci's admission to the Times, and he then laid out just what the doctor admitted to:

The story is straightforward. For most of this year, Dr. Fauci and other scientists in our public health establishment have been telling Americans that about 60 to 70 percent of the nation would need a vaccine in order for us to reach herd immunity and make the coronavirus a non-issue.

But, speaking with The New York Times, Dr. Fauci admitted that he believes the real number is in fact significantly higher — perhaps 75 to 90 percent — and he declined to be forthright because he felt the country wasn't ready to hear it. Only now did he say that he feels he has the freedom to "nudge this up a bit" without discouraging the nation.

Though highly critical of Fauci's actions, the Florida senator did acknowledge that he believed the medical expert's intentions were good. But that didn't change the basic fact about what Fauci was guilty of: "lying to the American people in order to manipulate their behavior."

This is not how the government should operate, Rubio went on. The American people should be trusted with the truth and allowed to make decisions "for themselves armed with facts honestly presented by public officials."

The trouble with having unelected people like Dr. Fauci taking it upon themselves to purposely mislead the public in order to impact community behavior is that there is no accountability, Rubio said:

The American people deserve the truth; they also deserve accountability. When elected representatives make decisions, they can be held responsible by the public. But when public health officials with decades of experience and leadership within our nation's institutions short-circuit the political process and make these decisions themselves, they deny the American people that same opportunity — and to change course if desired.

After all, accountability is a central tenet of representative government. It's the best way to ensure that the vision of what is being enforced by decision-makers matches the values of the population who have elected them.

When it's time for tough decisions to be made as a community, "elected officials at every level of government must lead," Rubio added, not "unelected technocrats."

As evidence that such technocrats do not always make the best calls for public policy, nor do they have the only legitimate interpretation of facts, the senator pointed out Fauci's and other experts' history of recommendations on mask-wearing:

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, things are never so clear-cut. For example, early on in the pandemic, there was a question of whether wearing a mask could be an effective tool to stop the spread.

In March, Dr. Fauci said "there's no reason to be walking around with a mask" and cautioned that "there are unintended consequences" with wearing them. That guidance was confounding at the time, and it quickly became politicized.

But some of the first people to make decisions not based on science were the scientists who, as Dr. Fauci admitted this past June, initially decided not to recommend masks to the general public because they were supposedly "concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply."

Rubio advised that, though Americans should still generally follow health guidelines, they should not place "blind faith in unelected celebrity scientists" and should "call them out" when they overstep their authority.

The senator closed by reiterating his disgust with Fauci's admitted lies.

"I am appalled by his arrogance," Rubio said. "If he wants to lead the nation, he should run for office."

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