NIAID director Dr Anthony Fauci was heard mocking a Republican senator at Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions after the senator in question sparred with Mr Fauci regarding whether his financial disclosure was publicly available.
Senator Roger Marshall, one of a few GOP senators at the hearing who used his time mainly to attack the witnesses, pivoted to criticism of Dr Fauci at one point in his allotted time after displaying a large fake check pointing out the infectious disease expert’s hefty government paycheck.
Mr Marshall then questioned whether Dr Fauci should have a publicly available financial disclosure form, as did the other witnesses on the panel including CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky.
Dr Fauci responded with confusion, noting that his financial disclosures had been publicly available for years throughout his service at NIAID.
“You are totally incorrect,” Dr Fauci told Mr Marshall, referring to the idea that his finances were somehow a secret.
Afterwards, he was caught on a hot mic deriding the senator for insisting that his staff couldn’t find it, quipping: “What a moron.”
HOT MIC MOMENT: After clashing with GOP Sen. Roger Marshall, Dr. Fauci was caught muttering, "what a moron," followed by "Jesus Christ." pic.twitter.com/merKU3BGAJ— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 11, 2022
The Independent has reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services for information regarding the process of obtaining Dr Fauci’s financial disclosure form.
The moment occurred during a heated committee hearing at which the NIAID director frequently clashed with Mr Marshall and Senator Rand Paul, another Republican, while at the same time others on the panel including both Democrats and the ranking Republican member, Senator Richard Burr, expressed their support and respect for the work of the assembled public health officials.
Dr Fauci is a favored target of Republicans playing up anger among their base against measures meant to prevent Covid-19, including mask mandates, vaccinations, and social distancing, all of which the NIAID director and other public health experts have said is the best way to protect Americans from the virus and allow a return to normality.
The doctor, who previously would appear alongside Donald Trump at White House Covid-19 briefings throughout 2020, became a target of Mr Trump and Republicans as it became clear that management of the Covid-19 pandemic was going to be a major election issue that year.
At the time, the president and others falsely claimed that a push to expand Covid testing in the US supported by Dr Fauci and others had led to the (correct) impression that the infection was surging in the country, while claiming that other countries were reporting lower numbers of Covid cases and deaths because of less testing in those countries.
On Tuesday, he battled Republican senators for spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and himself personally, and pointed to a recent episode in which a California man was arrested in Iowa after reportedly being found with a hit list that included Dr Fauci’s name, as well as a high-powered rifle and a large quantity of ammunition.
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