Politics Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about'
Attacks on Fauci grow more intense, personal and conspiratorial
Conservative are amplifying attacks on Fauci after the release of his emails. And they’re fundraising off of it too.But those attacks took on a whole new level of vitriol this week, to the point that one social media analysis described it as highly misleading and at least one platform pulled down some posts, citing false content.
Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said he had "no clue" what Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was referencing in a recent video she posted to her official Twitter account.
In the 50-second , which Blackburn captioned "the facts on Fauci that big tech doesn't want you to know," the GOP senator accuses the nation's top infectious diseases doctor of nefariously coordinating a "narrative" about the origins of the coronavirus with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
"I don't have a clue what she just said. I have no idea what she's talking about," Fauci said during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC. "I'm sorry, I don't want to be pejorative against a United States senator but I have no idea what she's talking about."
The biggest revelations from Fauci's inbox
Freedom of Information Act requests produced thousands of pages of emails this week sent and received by Anthony Fauci during the tumultuous period when COVID-19 first emerged.The emails, obtained by The Washington Post and BuzzFeed, provided an inside look at the top infectious diseases expert's hectic work life in the early months of the pandemic. BuzzFeed's more than 3,200 pages of emails and the Post's more than 860 pages of emails detail how Fauci communicated with fellow officials, colleagues, scientists and concerned Americans when COVID-19 first began to fundamentally alter U.S. society last year.
Blackburn's video is part of a pattern of attacks on Fauci from Republicans, seeking to discredit him and bolster the image of former President Trump.
The attacks, which began when Trump was in office, have intensified in recent weeks following renewed attention to the origins of the coronavirus and the release of thousands of pages of Fauci's emails obtained by news outlets through public records requests.
Fauci has long faced scrutiny from Republicans over his evolved guidance on masking and other issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as new questions have emerged about the true origins of the coronavirus, some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators have seized on connections between Fauci and the Wuhan lab, drawing unsubstantiated conclusions that Fauci was responsible for funding the creation of the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic.
What the “Fauci Gate” emails tell us about Covid-19 and American politics
How social media has triggered conspiracy theories over Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails.And although a majority of Americans today have received at least one vaccine dose and are ready to let all Covid-19-related news go, Fauci is once again under fire.
"It was Dr. Fauci and his agency that wrote that check, sent that money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to do this coronavirus research," Blackburn said.
Blackburn was likely talking about the grant given by the National Institutes of Health that went to the Wuhan Institute, which is the premier lab for studying coronaviruses, and the possibility that scientists at the lab were conducting "gain of function" research.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $3.4 million grant to the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was awarded a $600,000 subgrant under that contract, for the purpose of researching bat coronaviruses over five years.
There is no evidence the virus was created in a lab. But scientists have said they cannot rule out the possibility that the virus may have leaked out of the Wuhan lab, which is the world's top coronavirus research institute.
In numerous interviews and public appearances, Fauci has said the money to the Wuhan lab was not meant for gain-of-function research into human-made superviruses.
"If you go through each and every one of the points, which are so ridiculous, just painfully ridiculous, but nonetheless if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately," Fauci said.
GOP Senators Demand Fauci Resign or Be Fired .
‘Dr. Fauci has lost the confidence of the American people with his repeated evasions, misdirection, and politicized statements,’ Cotton said.If Fauci will not resign, the senators are demanding President Biden fire him amid a controversy over the origins of COVID after Fauci and others had dismissed the lab-leak theory as a right-wing conspiracy theory for months.