Nov 28, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Republican detractors are "criticizing science"

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that Republican lawmakers who criticize him are "criticizing science, because I represent science."

Why it matters: Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," Fauci added that such attacks are dangerous because "if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society."

The big picture: A number of GOP lawmakers have targeted Fauci over whether the NIH had funded "gain of function research," a type of study that could affect the transmissibility of pathogens, per the Washington Post.

  • In May, Fauci denied the agency had funded such research, but in October, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused him of lying and said he should be prosecuted, Politico reported.
  • GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have also accused Fauci of lying, Politico reported.

What he's saying: Responding to Cruz's call for him to be prosecuted, Fauci said he "had to laugh at that."

  • "Of course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out," Fauci said when asked if he had become a target of GOP detractors to deflect from the failings of former President Trump.
  • "I'm just going to do my job and I'm going to be saving lives and they're going to be lying," he added.
  • "[A]nybody who spins lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Paul's and all that other nonsense, that's noise."
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