White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci brushed off Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) demand for Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute the nation’s top infectious diseases expert amid GOP outrage over Fauci’s statements on COVID-19.
During an interview on CBS that aired Sunday, Fauci was asked about his response to Cruz claiming in a tweet last month that he had asked Garland to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Fauci. Alongside other GOP senators, Cruz accused Fauci of lying when the White House chief medical adviser in May denied that the National Institutes of Health funded “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China — a type of research that enhances a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world.
Fauci laughed off Cruz’s demand.
“I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?” Fauci said, appearing to jab Cruz and other GOP senators for boosting former President Trump’s Big Lie of a “stolen” election by challenging the election results, which in turn led to the deadly Capitol insurrection.
Fauci said that Cruz’s attacks are part of an effort to make him a scapegoat to deflect from Trump’s disastrous COVID-19 response.
“Of course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out,” Fauci said.
Fauci went on to brush off Republicans’ attacks over his denial that the NIH funded “gain of function” research.
“That’s OK, I’m just going to do my job and I’m going to be saving lives and they’re going to be lying,” Fauci said.
Fauci went on to criticize GOP lawmakers’ politicization of COVID-19 by spreading misinformation.
“I mean, anybody who’s looking at this carefully realizes that there’s a distinct anti-science flavor to this,” Fauci said. “So if they get up and criticize science, nobody’s going to know what they’re talking about.”
Fauci also took aim at Republicans who target him for following the science.
“But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize there’s a person there. There’s a face, there’s a voice you can recognize, you see him on television,” Fauci said. “So it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous. To me, that’s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me.”
“I’m not going to be around here forever, but science is going to be here forever. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave,” Fauci continued. “And that’s what I worry about.”
In addition to Cruz, other GOP senators such as Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have baselessly accused Fauci of lying about NIH research funding. Although Cruz and Paul claimed that an October letter from NIH to Congress contradicts Fauci, there is no clear evidence that “gain of function” research was funded by NIH nor that there is a link between U.S.-funded research and COVID-19’s origins.
Watch Fauci’s remarks below: