Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, pushed back Wednesday against Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) assessment of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, who also serves on the White House’s COVID-19 task force.
During an interview on Fox News, Alexander said he disagreed with Paul’s portrayal of Fauci advising against reopening the U.S. at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak as the doctor attempting to be “omniscient.”
“Dr. Fauci isn’t holding himself up as an omniscient person,” the Tennessee senator said. “He’s saying what he thinks as a person who’s been in charge of infectious disease since 1984, since Ronald Reagan’s day.”
Alexander noted that Fauci “usually is very careful” to say when he doesn’t know something.
“So I wouldn’t characterize him as trying to be omniscient. I don’t think he tries to do that at all,” said the GOP lawmaker. “He gives good advice, and then you can take the advice or leave it.”
During Fauci’s testimony in front of Alexander’s committee on Tuesday, Paul scolded the doctor and said he “ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy.” Paul also told Fauci “I don’t think you’re the end-all” on deciding when the economy should reopen.
In a Fox News interview several hours later, the Kentucky senator upheld his swipe at Fauci, saying “I don’t think any of these experts are omniscient.”
“I think that they have a basis of knowledge, but when you prognosticate about the future or when you advocate for things dramatic and drastic, like closing all the schools, you should look at all the information,” he continued.
Watch Alexander below:
Sen. Alexander on Paul's comments about Fauci: "Dr. Fauci isn't holding himself up as an omniscient person." pic.twitter.com/kTiNRK1MxR
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 13, 2020