Sen. Rand Paul, who has squared off several times against Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the release of thousands of his emails is proof that he knew far more about gain-of-function research with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China before the pandemic started.
"He gets an email or notification of what's going in Wuhan and he immediately sends something to his assistant, an email saying 'we must immediately read this article' and in the subject line, in the article, it says 'gain of function research in Wuhan,'" the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
Fauci has denied that the research, which describes procedures used to increase the transmissibility or virulence of microorganisms, had been funded at the Wuhan lab in part from grant money that had gone from the National Institutes of Health to the EcoHealth Alliance.
"He needs to be pinned down on this," Paul said. "There are scientists across America who will dispute what he's saying, who said that specifically the grant and the money given to Wuhan that Dr. Fauci approved, that it was gain of function research, and we need to talk to these scientists in this field and hear from them about how Dr. Fauci is not being honest with the American public."
Paul said that at first, "all these scientists" were saying COVID couldn't have come from the Wuhan lab, and he listened to them.
"Then I discovered that they were the very scientists that were funding the lab," said Paul. "If this virus came from the lab, there's a certain amount of at least moral culpability to the people advocating for this."
Fauci also still says he trusts the Chinese scientists, the senator added.
"I don't think he seems to be aware of the way it works in a Communist government," said Paul. "Do you think there aren't military generals in that lab as well? Do you think some of the scientists aren't also in the Communist Party and the military? I don't think that having trust in Chinese scientists with gain of function research was very wise. In fact, it was so naive that we shouldn't have Dr. Fauci in a position of advising the U.S., the world, or anybody else, because he's shown such poor decision-making."
Paul also said the emails point to Fauci's insistence on wearing masks as the "definition of theater."
"If you ask him about immunity, if you ask him privately if I've had the disease do I in all likelihood have immunity, he'll say yes," said Paul. "Then, he'll say we're going to completely discount it and this is a very important public policy decision. "
Meanwhile, there are 400,000 people a day contracting COVID-19, said Paul, so "there's a real question."
"Should you give the vaccine to people who have already had the disease or should you save the vaccine for people who haven't been infected?" he said. "There's not enough vaccine to go around in India. This is probably the most important public policy or public health decision in the world right now. Because Dr. Fauci isn't being honest about immunity, they may well be giving the vaccine to people who are already infected, which is not allowing enough people to get vaccinated for them to get to herd immunity."
Meanwhile, Fauci has not apologized or admitted that gain of function research was happening, even though his emails say something different.
"We have 11 labs in the United States, doing gain of function," said Paul. "I don't give our researchers bad motives. I think our researchers are good people, but I worry about the idea of whether we should take the Spanish flu and try to transmit it and make it easier to infect humans whether that's a good idea and whether it could possibly escape in the U.S."
Paul said he wants to have an open discussion in Washington, D.C., about the research, but he doesn't think Democrats will allow the scientists to be heard, even though they are impartial professionals "who worried about this for a decade, that this could happen."
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