Hours after calling a Republican senator a "moron" on a hot mic during a legislative hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on MSNBC to talk about what led to the outburst.
Fauci said while some senators, including Republicans, were asking "tough questions" during the hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "was not even giving anyone a chance to make an explanation."
"It was totally ad hominem literally from the get-go, before you could even get a word out of your mouth," Fauci said, accusing Paul of "outright lies that clearly are in the realm of politics."
"What you saw at the hearing today was pure ad hominem, and I called him out, because that's exactly what he's doing, he's raising money," said Fauci, who accused Paul during the hearing of encouraging death threats against him.
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Fauci noted that Paul's website says things like "Fire Fauci, he's killing you ... and, by the way, donate here."
"If that isn't absolute proof of what's going on here, you can't miss that one," Fauci told MSNBC.
He then addressed his exchange with Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), who asked if he would disclose his financial investments — which are already readily available to the public. Marshall's questioning led to the hot mic moment in which Fauci called the senator a "moron."
After playing the clip, host Chris Hayes told Fauci, "It didn't sound like you at the end there, you seemed little frustrated with that line of inquiry."
"It just is an example, again, he was implying, if you listen to the entire dialogue, that in my position responsible for drug trials and having so-called inside knowledge of what drug works and what drug doesn't work, that maybe I was making investments sort of like ahead of the game here," Fauci responded. "He was totally implying that, and he made the statement that we can't get your financial statement. It was stunning to me that a sitting United States senator doesn't realize that my financial statement is public knowledge. It was just like, 'Where have you been?'"
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