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Rand Paul, Ted Cruz roar back at Dr. Fauci, who claims criticism of him is 'dangerous' because 'I represent science'

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Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images (left), J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images (background), Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images (right)

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) punched back at Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday after the infectious diseases doctor claimed that criticism against him is "dangerous."

What did Fauci say?

During an interview that aired on CBS News' "Face The Nation," Fauci took aim at Paul and Cruz, two Republican lawmakers who have been some of Fauci's loudest critics throughout the pandemic.

When confronted with Cruz's assertion that Fauci should be prosecuted for allegedly lying to Congress, Fauci invoked the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

"I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, Senator?" Fauci said.

Fauci added that he believes that one must be "asleep" if they do not understand that he is being made into a "scapegoat" to deflect from former President Donald Trump. It was not clear why Trump was invoked in the interview.

When host Margaret Brennan suggested Republicans are playing "politics around matters of life and death," Fauci let loose, saying criticism against him is "dangerous" because his critics are actually criticizing science.

"Exactly. Exactly. And to me, that's unbelievably bad because all I want to do is save people's lives," Fauci responded. "And, I mean, anybody who's looking at this carefully realizes that there's a distinct anti-science flavor to this. So if they get up and criticize science, nobody's going to know what they're talking about. But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize, there's a person there."

"So it's easy to criticize. But they're really criticizing science, because I represent science. That's dangerous," Fauci added. "To me, that's more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave."

How did Paul and Cruz respond?

Paul specifically condemned Fauci over his assertion that he represents science, calling the remark "astounding and alarming."

"The absolute hubris of someone claiming THEY represent science. It's astounding and alarming that a public health bureaucrat would even think to claim such a thing, especially one who has worked so hard to ignore the science of natural immunity," Paul said.

Cruz, meanwhile, responded by laying out his case that Fauci lied to Congress. Cruz demanded Fauci substantively respond to the facts, and doubled down on his assertion that the Justice Department should investigate Fauci.

Cruz said:

Fauci is an unelected technocrat who has distorted science and facts in order to exercise authoritarian control over millions of Americans. He lives in a liberal world where his smug "I REPRESENT science" attitude is praised. Here are the facts: (1) On May 11, Fauci testified before a Senate Committee that "the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology." (2) On October 20, NIH wrote they funded an experiment at the Wuhan lab testing if "spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model." That is gain of function research. (3) Fauci's statement and the NIH's October 20 letter cannot both be true. The statements are directly contradictory. (4) 18 USC 1001 makes it felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, to lie to Congress.

"No amount of ad hominem insults parroting Democrat talking points will get Fauci out of this contradiction," Cruz concluded. "Fauci either needs to address the substance—in detail, with specific factual corroboration—or DOJ should consider prosecuting him for making false statements to Congress."

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