Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Sunday said Sen. Ted Cruz’s call to prosecute him smacked of bias against science.
“Anybody who’s looking at this carefully realizes that there’s a distinct anti-science flavor to this,” Fauci told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face The Nation.“ “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 — people could recognize there’s a person there.”
In May, Fauci said the National Institutes of Health had not funded “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China — a type of research that could potentially cause pathogens to become more infectious. Cruz (R-Texas) in October tweeted that Fauci was lying and added: “It’s a crime to knowingly lie to Congress, so I asked AG [Merrick] Garland if he’d appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Fauci.“
Fauci said that the accusations are dangerous, not only to him, but the scientific community.
“It’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous,” he said. “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.”
“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.
Fauci’s remarks have come under fire not only from Cruz, but other Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.), though NIH maintained it had not provided money for such research. Cruz and Cotton have pointed to an October letter highlighting specific grant funding from the NIH that aided a certain aspect of coronavirus research at the lab to bolster their claim that Fauci lied.
When asked if the recent accusations are a way for Republican lawmakers to use him as a scapegoat to deflect criticism from former President Donald Trump, Fauci said, “You have to be asleep not to figure that one out.”