During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on June 30, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pulled no punches in leveling criticism at Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is one of the most visible members of the Trump administration’s White House Coronavirus Task Force addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
“It is a fatal conceit to believe any one person or small group of people has the knowledge necessary to direct an economy or dictate public health behavior. I think government experts need to show caution in their prognostications,” Paul said.
Fauci was attending as one of several witnesses before the hearing — the others included Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC; Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services; and Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of food and drugs at the FDA.
Paul’s statement reflected his strongly independent, libertarian views that resemble those of his father, former Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas).
“It’s important to realize that if society meekly submits to an expert and that expert is wrong, a great deal of harm may occur when we allow one man’s policy or one group of small men and women to be foisted on an entire nation,” Paul continued.
“Take for example government experts who continue to call for schools and day care to stay closed or that recommend restrictions that make it impossible for a school to function. There are examples from all across the United States and around the world that show that young children rarely spread the virus,” he stated, pointing to countries where schools have reopened with few harmful effects, such as Denmark, France, and Germany.
“We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best for everyone. Only decentralized power and decision-making based on millions of individualized situations can arrive at what risk and behaviors each individual will choose. That’s what America was founded on, not a herd with Washington telling us what to do and like sheep we blindly follow.”
Taking aim directly at Fauci, Paul said: “Dr. Fauci, every day we seem to hear from you things we can’t do. But when you’re asked, ‘Can we go back to school?’ I don’t hear much certitude at all. ‘Well, maybe.’ ‘It depends.’ Guess what? It’s rare for kids to transmit this. I don’t hear that coming from you. All I hear is, ‘We can’t do this, we can’t do that, we can’t play baseball,’” Paul said.
Fauci responded to Paul’s objections by attempting to justify offering premature recommendations based on incomplete data: “Sen. Paul, I agree with so much of what you say, people putting opinions out without data. Sometimes you have to make extrapolations because you’re in a position where you need to give some sort of recommendation."
Image of Rand Paul: Screenshot from senate.gov