Ron Johnson accuses Dr. Fauci of 'overhyping' AIDS in the 1980s
Ron Johnson on CNN -- screenshot

On Wednesday, in an interview on The Brian Kilmeade Show, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of having "overhyped" AIDS in the past, during an attack on his assessment of the COVID Omicron variant.

"Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS," said Johnson. "He overhyped it. He created all kinds of fear, saying it could affect the entire population when it couldn't. He's using the exact same playbook with COVID, ignoring therapy, pushing a vaccine."

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Johnson did not elaborate on what "therapy" he believes would be more effective at controlling COVID-19 than mass vaccination, although he has previously pushed a discredited protocol of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus — and this medical disinformation got him temporarily suspended from YouTube.

The AIDS epidemic has killed over 700,000 people in the United States since the virus was first isolated in the early 1980s. For years, Republican lawmakers refused to act on the crisis in any meaningful way because they believed it to be a virus of gay men.