Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) has had just about enough of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The Republican senator has repeatedly clashed with the top U.S. immunologist during hearings on Capitol Hill, but he went a bit further on Wednesday.
“I know Dr. Fauci, I like Dr. Fauci, I respect Dr. Fauci,” Kennedy told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “But Dr. Fauci needs to cut the crap. This isn’t about Dr. Fauci. It’s not about his feelings, and I’m sorry if his feelings were hurt. You know, maybe he ought to buy an emotional support pony.”
“But we’re not debating dance moves on TikTok here,” Kennedy said. “We’re talking about millions of human lives.”
In recent days, Fauci has been blasted for his response to COVID-19 after the release of thousands of his emails, which detailed his evolving stances on masks and his dismissal of the theory that the virus may have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — a possibility the Biden administration is now exploring.
Fauci has been busy defending himself. “A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning, have been fundamentally based on science,” Fauci said Wednesday on MSNBC. “People want to fire me or put me in jail for what I’ve done — namely, follow the science.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who served on former President Donald Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, also hedged his bets that the virus is of “natural origin.”
“The most likely origin is a natural origin from an animal reservoir to human. However, we have not ruled out the possibility that there could have been a leak from the lab. I haven’t changed my mind.”
Kennedy also said Dr. Fauci’s agency, the NIAID, gave money to the Wuhan lab. As The Daily Wire previously reported, a PolitiFact fact-check has confirmed the NIAID awarded grant money to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, which then paid the Wuhan virology lab about $600,000 over the course of five years to conduct genetic analysis of bat coronaviruses.
“Dr. Fauci gave a lot of U.S. taxpayer money to the Wuhan lab for Chinese scientists to research bat coronaviruses,” said Kennedy. “Neither Dr. Fauci nor any of his people can guarantee us that the Chinese scientists didn’t use that money to do gain-of-function research and turn a normal virus into a super-charged virus. They weren’t monitored, Dr. Fauci and his people didn’t monitor the lab, and it’s not like it hasn’t happened before.”
“Since day one, Dr. Fauci and his expert friends have told us, look, the virus occurred naturally. It jumped from a bat to a host and then to human beings. Well, it’s been a year. Where is the proof? Where is the smoking bat? Do you really think if China could prove this virus occurred naturally in nature it would withhold that evidence? No it would scream it from the rooftop to get the world off its back,” Kennedy said, adding that Fauci “needs to hit these things head-on, otherwise it’s going to undermine public health, people’s confidence in public health, and the American people are going to end up trusting Dr. Pepper more than Dr. Fauci.”
This article has been updated to include additional information.