WASHINGTON (AP) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading expert on infectious diseases, blamed Senator Ted Cruz for proposing that Fauci be investigated for statements he made about COVID-19 and said the criticism from the Texas Republican was an attack on science.
“Should I be prosecuted? What happened on January 6, Senator?” Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS ‘”Face the Nation.” It was a reference to violent revolt at the American Capitol of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were agitated when Cruz helped bring GOP objections to Congress’ confirmation of the election results for 2020.
“I just want to do my job and I want to save lives and they’re going to lie,” Fauci said.
Some Republicans, including Cruz and Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., Have accused Fauci of lying to Congress when he denied in May that the National Institutes of Health funded “gain of function” research – the practice of reinforcing a virus in a laboratory to study its potential impact in the real world – at a virology laboratory in Wuhan, China. Cruz has called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Fauci’s statements.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the GOP criticism nonsense.
“Anyone who looks at this carefully realizes that there is a clear anti-scientific taste to this,” he said.
Cruz and Paul say an October letter from the NIH to Congress contradicts Fauci. However, there is no clear evidence or scientific consensus that “gain of function” research was funded by the NIH, and there is no link between US-funded research and the emergence of COVID-19. The NIH has repeatedly maintained that its funding did not go to such research that involved increasing the infectivity and mortality of a pathogen.
When Fauci was asked in the CBS interview whether the Republicans might raise the allegations of making him a scapegoat and diverting criticism of Trump, Fauci said, “Of course you have to sleep not to find out.”