Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky, has clashed publicly with Anthony Fauci over virus research carried out before the pandemic. Ted Cruz, from Texas, has said Fauci should be prosecuted regarding his handling of the Covid response.
â€œYeah,â€ Fauci told CBS in his Sunday interview. â€œI have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on 6 January, senator?â€
Cruz was among Republicans who voted to object to electoral college results in key states, even after Trump supporters mounted a deadly attack on the US Capitol.
Asked if he was being made a scapegoat for Trumpâ€™s failings under Covid, Fauci said: â€œOf course, you have to be asleep not to figure that one out â€¦ Thatâ€™s OK, Iâ€™m just going to do my job and Iâ€™m going to be saving lives and theyâ€™re going to be lying.â€
Playing politics with his role in the Covid response, Fauci said, was â€œunbelievably bad because all I want to do is save peopleâ€™s lives. Thatâ€™s what I have done for the last 50 years â€¦
â€œI mean, anybody whoâ€™s looking at this carefully realises that thereâ€™s a distinct anti-science flavor to this. So if they get up and criticize science, nobodyâ€™s going to know what theyâ€™re talking about. But if they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize thereâ€™s a person there. Thereâ€™s a face, thereâ€™s a voice you can recognize, you see him on television.
â€œSo itâ€™s easy to criticise, but theyâ€™re really criticising science because I represent science. Thatâ€™s dangerous. To me, thatâ€™s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me.
â€œIâ€™m not going to be around here forever, but science is going to be here forever. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave. And thatâ€™s what I worry about.â€
Hereâ€™s video of one memorable exchange between Paul and Fauci, from a Senate hearing in July: