Rand Paul says he and his family have received death threats amid ‘outspoken’ clashes with Fauci over origins of COVID-19

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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

  • Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said he’d received death threats for his criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
  • Paul has recently accused Fauci of misleading the public on the possible origins of the coronavirus.
  • Fauci has called attacks from the right “nonsense” and a “distraction.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News on Friday that he’s been receiving death threats for his public criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert.

In recent days, Paul has accused Fauci of misleading the public about the origins of the coronavirus.

The accusation is based on recently released emails Fauci exchanged at the beginning of the pandemic, discussing the possibility of COVID-19 being created in a lab, at a time when he was publicly downplaying the theory.

He also said Fauci lied about funding research into the weaponizing of coronaviruses at the Wuhan lab now being considered as a possible site COVID-19 originated.

“I’ve had five death threats just for being outspoken on it this week,” Paul told Sean Hannity on Friday. “I’ve had five death threats. I don’t know what the world is coming to, you can’t ask honest, difficult questions that in the end have proved out that Dr. Fauci was not being honest with us, but as a repercussion, my family had white powder sent to our house, and five death threats phone in.”

A representative of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, in Paul’s home state, referred Insider to the US Capitol Police for confirmation of the death threats on Sunday. As of Sunday morning, the US Capitol Police had not returned Insider’s email requesting confirmation of the death threats.

Meanwhile, Fauci has defended himself against the attacks he’s been receiving from the right.

In an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Friday night, Fauci called the accusations that he lied to the public “fabricated,” “nonsense” and a “distraction.

“My job was to make a vaccine and use my institute and these talented scientists that we have there and that we fund in the various universities to get a vaccine that was highly safe and highly effective,” he said.

“We succeeded. All the other stuff is just a terrible, not happy type of distraction. But it’s all nonsense.”

He also maintained in a CNN interview on Thursday that he believes the coronavirus originated naturally.

“I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human, but I keep an absolutely open mind that if there may be other origins of that, there may be another reason, it could have been a lab leak,” Fauci said.

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The US Senate went off the rails trying to pass a bill on China, which got delayed until after Memorial Day

rand paul quail cocaine
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

  • Shenanigans unfolded on the US Senate floor Friday morning, delaying major votes.
  • The GOP stall tactics derailed votes Thursday night, followed by lengthy speeches the next morning.
  • Presentations on quail cocaine use and philosophy bumped a vote on China until after Memorial Day.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A series of floor speeches by GOP senators Friday morning delayed major votes and provided for social media fodder.

Although the Senate was set to break for recess on Thursday night ahead of the holiday weekend, chaos began to unfold with a last-minute push to thwart a more than $250 billion bill designed to make the US more technologically competitive against China.

The delays, first caused by a vote on an amendment proposed by Sen. Mike Crapo and then furthered by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, culminated in several Senators making lengthy remarks on the Senate floor the next morning.

A highly specific set of floor charts accompanying Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s presentation began to go viral, starting with an overview of government research spending on the “cocaine and risky sex habits of quail.”

The NIH quail example has been used by Paul for years, but this time was being used to raise concerns over what he described as gross overspending in the Biden administration’s newly proposed federal budget.

Paul was followed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, who spoke about US pension investments in Chinese companies, the US-Mexico border, and other matters for around a half-hour.

Then came Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who walked colleagues through a lesson in political philosophy about “human flourishing” and “the twin pillars of any thriving human civilization,” free markets, and voluntary civic institutions.

Other Republicans were not as enthralled with the presentations as Paul, Tuberville, and Lee.

One GOP senator griped to CNN’s Manu Raju using an expletive, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered some dry humor.

In the end, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer successfully moved to delay the vote on the China tech bill until after the Senate’s Memorial Day recess to prioritize a vote on a bill to create a bipartisan January 6 commission.

The Senate ultimately fell short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead with a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection in the first successful filibuster during President Joe Biden’s administration.

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An amendment by Rand Paul barring the NIH from funding some types of research in China passed in the Senate amid new debate on COVID-19’s origin

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sparred with Dr. Anthony Fauci on studies about COVID-19 reinfections

  • An amendment by Sen. Rand Paul to ban NIH from funding certain research in China passed in the Senate.
  • An amendment banning funding from going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was also approved.
  • There have been new calls to determine if the coronavirus pandemic was accidentally leaked from the lab.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An amendment that would ban the National Institute of Health from funding certain types of research was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, amid new debates on whether or not the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

The amendment by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was added to the Endless Frontier Act, a broader technology investment bill. It bans the NIH from funding “gain-of-function” research, which is research that alters an organism or disease to make it more transmissible, or pathogenic.

“We don’t know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally,” Paul, who is a medical doctor said in a statement. “While many still deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. The passage of my amendment ensures that this never happens in the future. No taxpayer money should have ever been used to fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and now we permanently have put it to a stop.”

In a hearing this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Paul his claims that the NIH funds gain-of-function research to China are false.

“Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci said.

This comes as experts call for a reevaluation of whether the coronavirus pandemic was triggered by an accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that US intelligence found three researchers at the lab became sick with COVID-19 symptoms in November 2019 and sought hospital care.

The Senate also approved an amendment from GOP Sen. Joni Ernst that would ban US funding from going to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

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GOP Sen. Rand Paul says he refuses to take the COVID-19 vaccine, claims he already has ‘natural immunity’

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

  • Sen. Rand Paul says that he doesn’t need to be vaccinated because he contracted COVID-19 last year.
  • “I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul said on WABC 770 AM.
  • Paul has repeatedly clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci over medical recommendations to fight COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Sunday said that he won’t take a COVID-19 vaccination shot to protect against the highly infectious disease.

During a WABC 770 AM radio interview with New York businessman John Catsimatidis, Paul, a trained ophthalmologist, said that he made his decision based on the fact that he already contracted COVID-19 in March 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals who previously had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated because there is no timetable for natural immunity.

Paul said that until he feels assured that immunity through vaccination is more effective than natural immunity, he will skip taking any shots.

“Until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers, or being hospitalized or getting very sick, I just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul emphasized.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said earlier this month that new studies have shown that vaccines increase any natural protection against new COVID-19 variants that individuals may have had from a previous infection.

“Vaccines, actually, at least with regard to SARS-CoV-2 [the coronavirus] can do better than nature,” he said. “Vaccination in people previously infected significantly boosts the immune response.”

Paul has repeatedly clashed with Fauci over the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last November, Paul blasted Fauci, alleging that he “tends to gloss over the science” on COVID-19 immunity.

“Dr. Fauci is like ‘oh, woe is me,’ until the election occurs and now, maybe he’ll be changing his attitude,” he said.

Paul’s attitude has differed dramatically from that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his fellow Bluegrass State Republican, who has supported Fauci and publicly urged Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the interview, Paul said that people who had contracted COVID-19 and recovered did not need to wear masks.

“We have 11 million people in our country who’ve already had COVID,” he said on Fox News at the time. “We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again, because these people are now immune.”

Paul told WABC 770 that taking the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal decision and should not be compulsory.

“In a free country you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision, that it wouldn’t be a big brother coming to tell me what I have to do,” he said. “Are they also going to tell me I can’t have a cheeseburger for lunch? Are they going to tell me that I have to eat carrots only and cut my calories?”

He added: “All that would probably be good for me, but I don’t think big brother ought to tell me to do it.”

Read more: Assassination threats, AOC potshots, and wolf teats: 2 wild weeks inside Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia district as it flips a giant middle finger at DC

Paul’s comments come at the US looks to increase the numbers of individuals who are vaccinated after the initial vaccination demand has subsided in recent weeks.

According to the CDC, 61.1 percent of adults have received at least one vaccination shot and 49.2 percent of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began in the US, over 589,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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These are the 6 Republicans who voted against a bipartisan bill on anti-Asian hate crimes

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.

  • The Senate voted Wednesday to move forward a bill that would address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • In a rare bipartisan showing, almost all senators voted to advance the bill.
  • Insider reached out to the six Republican senators who voted to block the legislation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Senate overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to advance a bill addressing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Democrats Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Grace Meng of New York, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will require federal officers to “facilitate the expedited review” of hate crimes.

“It defines COVID-19 hate crime as a violent crime that is motivated by two things: (1) the actual or perceived characteristic (e.g., race) of any person, and (2) the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person because of that characteristic,” according to the bill’s summary.

In a rare bipartisan effort, a vast majority of senators voted 92-6 to advance the bill – bringing it one step closer to passing.

But the legislation could still face a difficult path forward. Republicans only supported the procedure on the agreement they could add amendments to the bill after it advanced: They added 20.

Hirono told HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic, some of the amendments added, “have absolutely nothing to do with the bill.”

Senate leaders will now have to agree which amendments to consider in order to pass the bill through the Senate, “very, very soon,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech Wednesday.

Here are the six Republicans who voted “no.”

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas

Tom Cotton
In this May 11, 2017 file photo, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

A representative from Cotton’s office told Insider that he voted against the bill because “he’s working on related legislation.”

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

Representatives from Sen. Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri

Josh Hawley Ted Cruz

Representatives from Sen. Hawley’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas

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Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) questions Xavier Becerra, U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 23, 2021.

Representatives from Sen. Marshall’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

Representatives from Sen. Paul’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama

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2020 Alabama Republican US Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville

Representatives from Sen. Tuberville’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Rand Paul is facing backlash for his anti-trans comments equating gender-affirming surgery to ‘genital mutilation’

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

  • Sen. Rand Paul compared gender-affirming surgery for trans people to “genital mutilation” during a hearing for Dr. Rachel Levine.
  • Levine, if confirmed by the Senate, will be the first openly trans official approved by the chamber.
  • Some of Paul’s Democratic colleagues sharply rebuked his remarks. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

During confirmation hearings for Dr. Rachel Levine for assistant health secretary, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky conflated gender-affirming surgery with “genital mutilation.”

Paul on Thursday during a hearing before the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee questioned Levine on her stances regarding healthcare for transgender youth. In doing so, he attempted to correlate transition-related surgery with genital mutilation – a practice health officials have previously called a human rights violation that “has no health benefits.”

“Genital mutilation is considered particularly egregious because … it is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children,” Paul, a former ophthalmologist, said.

Paul then tried to portray Levine as a supporter of “surgical destruction of a minor’s genitalia,” asking her if she believed minors could make “such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?”

“For most of our history, we have believed that minors don’t have full rights and that parents need to be involved,” Paul said. “We should be outraged that someone’s talking to a 3-year-old about changing their sex.”

 

Levine, a pediatrician and an advocate for hormone therapy, has never said children should receive gender reassignment surgery. 

“Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed,” Levine said in response to Paul. Levine also told Paul she’d further discuss the subject with him if confirmed by the Senate. 

Levine, if approved, will become the first openly trans official confirmed by the Senate

Paul’s comments led to immediate backlash from Democratic lawmakers, who supported Levine. 

Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington and the chair of the Senate health committee, rebuked Paul’s questions. 

“It is really critical to me that our nominees be treated with respect and that our questions focus on their qualifications and the work ahead of us, rather than on ideological and harmful misrepresentations like those we heard from Senator Paul earlier,” Murray said on Thursday. 

Paul’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Levine, 64, is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine. She also serves as the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. 

In separate remarks on Thursday, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned Republican lawmakers speaking out against trans rights.

Republican “attacks on trans people and the transgender community are just mean,” Schumer said during an in-person press briefing. “And show a complete lack of understanding and a complete lack of empathy. They don’t represent our views, and they don’t represent the views of a majority of Americans. Their despicable comments just make my blood boil with anger. If I didn’t have a mask, you could see my teeth gritting.”

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GOP Sen. Rand Paul says that Biden’s push for a $15 minimum wage reflects a ‘hate’ for Black teenagers

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

  • Republican Senator Rand Paul said that President Biden’s push for a $15 minimum wage would hurt Black teenagers.
  • “‘Why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers?’ should be the question,” Paul said.
  • The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Friday came out swinging against President Joe Biden, saying that the Democratic president’s push for a $15 minimum wage would hurt Black youth.

During an interview with Fox host Sean Hannity, Paul alleged that a minimum wage increase would put 4 million people out of work.

“The people who lose their jobs first when you hike up the minimum wage are Black teenagers,” Paul said. “So, you know, ‘Why does Joe Biden hate Black teenagers?’ should be the question. Why does Joe Biden want to destroy all of these jobs?”

He added: “Even the government says that nearly 4 million people will lose their jobs.”

According to a Congressional Budget Office report, there’s a two-thirds chance that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would cause zero job losses on the low end of estimates to 3.7 million job losses on the high end of estimates, with a median CBO estimate of 1.3 million job losses.

However, the CBO also estimates that a $15 minimum wage would increase pay for 17 million workers.

Read more: The ultimate guide to Biden’s White House staff

Paul cited the highest CBO job loss estimate in his interview with Hannity.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but states and many localities can set higher minimum wages. Kentucky’s minimum wage sits at $7.25 an hour.

The federal minimum wage has been unchanged since July 2009.

Black communities have been hit harder than other demographic groups during the coronavirus pandemic. Government data last summer showed Black Americans were disproportionately affected by mass layoffs. Meanwhile, Gen Z has been the hardest hit in the labor market and are now on track to repeat millennials’ money problems, as Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reported in December.

Paul also blasted Biden for canceling the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a decision that leading Democrats have long sought, much to the consternation of Republicans, who point to job losses.

“It’s kind of a strange beginning to an administration,” Paul said. “You’re going to put your best foot forward and the first thing you say is, ‘This is how I’m going to kill jobs’ … ‘I’m going to kill thousands of jobs of the Keystone pipeline with ending it.'”

While in office, former President Donald Trump championed the US-Canada project, saying it would create 28,000 US jobs, a number that was disputed by The Washington Post in 2017. That same year, ABC News also noted that the majority of the jobs involving the pipeline would be temporary.

Read the original article on Business Insider