Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday night stood by the biting comments he made to top White House COVID-19 task force official Dr. Anthony Fauci earlier in the day about the doctor’s opinion that it would be premature to reopen the country right now.
“I don’t question Dr. Fauci’s motives,” the GOP senator told Fox News host Martha MacCallum, also describing the doctor as “a good person” who “wants what’s best for the country.”
“But he’s an extremely cautious person, and I don’t think any of these experts are omniscient,” Paul added. “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.”
Paul argued that “we really need to have competition among the experts,” pointing to British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson’s projection that 2.2 million people would die from COVID-19 within as an example of a health professional offering faulty information.
“So we have to take with a grain of salt these experts and their prognostications,” the senator said.
Ironically, Paul himself is a doctor who owned his own clinic before merging it with Downing McPeak Vision Centers upon his election in 2011.
However, what Ferguson actually wrote in his report was that the U.S. would reach that death toll only “in the (unlikely) absence of any control measures or spontaneous changes in individual behaviour.”
During a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Tuesday, Paul had hammered Fauci on how there will be “wrong prediction after wrong prediction after wrong prediction” from health experts on when it was appropriate to reopen the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which conservatives like Paul have been itching to do despite those experts’ warnings.
“I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy,” Paul told the doctor. “And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all, I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision.”
Fauci smacked down the senator’s jab.
“I have never made myself out to be the end-all and only voice in this,” he shot back. “I’m a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.”
Watch Paul below:
Sen. Rand Paul says health experts need to be taken "with a grain of salt" amid COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/KfoLwhHCS9
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 13, 2020