Anthony Fauci slams Ted Cruz over Capitol riot

Dr. Anthony Fauci slammed Sen. Ted Cruz following the Texas Republican’s claim that Fauci should face federal prosecution over some of his testimony before Congress.

During a “Face the Nation” interview that aired Sunday, CBS’ Margaret Brennan pointed out that Cruz “told the attorney general you should be prosecuted.”

“Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded.

Cruz was among the Republican senators who voted against confirming Joe Biden’s electoral victory on Jan. 6, the same day a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol seeking to overturn the election results. 

Last month, during a congressional hearing, Cruz asked Attorney General Merrick Garland if he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Fauci lied to Congress when he said the National Institutes of Health had not funded “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China before COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health said it had not provided money for such research, but Cruz and other GOP senators have pointed to an October letter about the agency’s research funding sent by an NIH official to accuse Fauci of lying to Congress.

Dr. Fauci on Ted Cruz saying he should be prosecuted: "I should be prosecuted? What happened on January 6, senator?"

And on Republicans scapegoating him: "That's okay. I'm just gonna do my job, and I'm gonna be saving lives, and they're gonna be lying."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 28, 2021

It was the latest in Republicans’ ongoing effort to question Fauci’s integrity.

Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, responded on Sunday by saying that his Republican critics were spreading lies and misinformation in order to deflect from their association with and support for Trump.

“You have to be asleep not to figure that one out … I’m just going to do my job and I’m going to be saving lives and they’re going to be lying,” said Fauci.

“If they get up and really aim their bullets at Tony Fauci, well, people could recognize there’s a person there,” he added. “There’s a face, there’s a voice you can recognize, you see him on television. So it’s easy to criticize, but they’re really criticizing science because I represent science. That’s dangerous.”

Cruz shot back by accusing Fauci of distorting “science and facts in order to exercise authoritarian control over millions of Americans.” He reiterated that the top health official should clear up his statement before Congress or face prosecution by the DOJ. 

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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